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“I have stood on the corner of Amador and Water streets in Las Cruces since the 1870s, serving as a rest stop for weary drovers and travelers,” former Las Cruces City Councilor Dolores Archuleta said, portraying the character of Señora Hotel Amador.
“Famous people (including President Theodore Roosevelt and Mexican President Benito Juarez) came and went and I was so proud to show them my hospitality,” Señora Amador continued. The hotel’s builder, Martín Amador (1836-1903) and his wife, Refugio Amador de Ruiz (1848-1907), left the hotel to their youngest daughter, Corina.
“With love and care from Corina and her husband, Frank Campbell, I became the finest hotel in the region,” Senora Amador said. “I was filled with beautiful furniture and exotic collections from all over the world. Soon, I hope to see the historic preservation take place so I will be restored and will once again be a jewel in the crown of Las Cruces.”
Shortly after that presentation, the city council, acting as the Las Cruces Tax Increment Development (TIDD) board, unanimously approved $2 million to continue restoration of the Amador, which Archuleta called a “beloved and iconic landmark” of Las Cruces. The resolution approved by the TIDD board provides $2 million to the Amador project in fiscal year 2022 and $500,000 in FY23 for a total of $2 million, said Amador Foundation Vice President Deb Dennis, Ph.D.
Martin Amador Campbell, the great-grandson of Martín Amador, also spoke at the meeting. He was born in the hotel in 1941, in the same room in which his father, Martin, and his grandmother, Corina, were born, he said.
“My family have a deep-rooted memory of the Amador Hotel,” Campbell said. “When I was growing up, it was the social center of Las Cruces.”
“We are very relieved and grateful to the TIDD board/city council for their unanimous and strong support for the Amador Hotel,” Amador Hotel Foundation Board President Heather Pollard said. “The future of the Amador is now secure for the next two years and we believe this restoration is going to be a reality.”
The city purchased the hotel in 2007 and the nonprofit foundation was formed to save and restore the hotel.
The Amador’s restoration “will be an important part of the economic development of Downtown,” said Amador Project donor Frances Williams, 92, whom Pollard called “a local icon and a good soldier.”
“It’s a must to continue to revitalize our beautiful downtown,” Mayor Pro Tempore and TIDD board member Kassandra Gandara said.
“Without Mr. Amador, we wouldn’t have Las Cruces,” said city councilor and board member Yvonne Flores.
Archuleta also read a letter from former state Rep. J. Paul Taylor of Mesilla, who turns 101 in August. Taylor helped save the hotel from being destroyed during the urban renewal of the 1960s, when most of the old buildings in Downtown Las Cruces were demolished.
“Any event in town was at the Amador Hotel,” Taylor said in his letter.
“It’s an extremely important part of our history,” said city councilor and TIDD board member Gill Sorg.
The new TIDD funding “will allow us to do many things and jump start the next phases while meanwhile we can be writing these grants for that additional money,” said Amador Foundation board member Sonya Cooper, Ph.D.
It will keep the “best adobe masons and the best lime plasterers in the region” working on the project, she said, and will “keep excitement up” as people see the progress of the building.
More than $1 million in grants, private funds, in-kind donations and legislative appropriations have been spent on hotel renovations to date, and about 4,000 volunteer hours contributed to the hotel’s restoration, said Chris Faivre of the city Economic Development Department. About $9 million total is likely to be spent to restore the hotel to public use, the city said.
The TIDD was created by the city in 2009 “to generate revenue within the Downtown area” and use the money for public improvement projects Downtown, according to city documents. It is funded through existing gross receipts tax revenues, with additional funding from the New Mexico Legislature. Before the July 26 meeting, the TIDD had a total balance of more than $5.3 million.