City demolishes vacant, crime-ridden motel; Paseo Gateway project will revitalize Historic Northeast neighborhood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2017
The crumbling walls of the Royale Inn took a big hit Monday when the City launched a demolition welcomed by Northeast residents and business owners eager to say good-bye to the long-time eyesore.
The razing began shortly after 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Independence Avenue and The Paseo, where the motel has been since 1965. The vacant structure had devolved into an unwanted landmark more associated with illegal activity than reasonably-priced lodging.
Demolition clears the way for the continuing development of the $12 million Paseo Gateway Project, which will better connect downtown and neighborhoods on the City’s east side.
This was one of the goals that inspired the City Council to approve $2.7 million to purchase and demolish the Royale last year.
The City’s effort to spur redevelopment in this area is part of the Choice Neighborhoods Grant program, for which the City was awarded $30 million in HUD grant funds in 2015. Paseo Gateway is comprised of the Pendleton Heights, Independence Plaza, and Paseo West neighborhoods.
Progress already is being made here, with the open house last month at the Northeast Community Center’s new community services hub, housed in a renovated building on Independence Avenue. The community services center offers resources related to adult education, early literacy, financial stability, etc.
The project’s goal is to transform housing and community services for residents in the Historic Northeast area, while supporting economic development and a higher quality of life. This demolition is a strategic investment by the City to eliminate blight and leverage federal funding.
Key components of the project include:
- Realigning the intersection of Independence Avenue and the Paseo (the City has contributed $5 million toward this.)
- Renovation of Pendleton Flats, a 30 unit, mixed-income apartment complex
- Improving Kessler Park with more bike trails and better connections to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods
- Strengthening businesses along the Independence Avenue corridor, perhaps with a business incubator, a shared commercial kitchen and an ambassador program
Recently there have been some positive signs that life along The Paseo is improving, thanks in part to increased population as new residents have moved into the neighborhood.
Media inquiries should be directed to City Communications Director, Chris Hernandez, by email or by phone at 816-513-3474.