Developer: Atlantic Development & Investments, Inc.
Architect: PHM, Ltd.
Major Funders: The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corp.; National Mortgage Investors, LLC; Pima County; city of Tucson; Arizona Department of Housing; Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
Ghost Ranch Lodge holds a special place in Tucson's history. Designed by renowned Swiss architect Josias Joesler in 1941, it was one of the first motels in the United States to utilize the motor court concept, which gained popularity when people started hitting the roads after World War II. It was the No. 1 resort in Tucson in the 1940s, and the skull logo appearing on its iconic signage was designed by American artist Georgia O'Keeffe.
Having served the city for more than half of a century, it became vacant and dilapidated. After other developers' failed attempts at redevelopment, Atlantic Development & Investments, Inc., is keeping the history alive by transforming the former motel into 112 one-bedroom units for seniors and disabled residents.
“The nature of the structures on the site having been a motor court lended themselves to a reconfiguration for seniors housing in the sense that the buildings were scattered around the courtyard and there was easy access to mass transportation, hospitals, and many services that an elderly population would find necessary,” says John Cichon of Atlantic Development & Investments.
A number of funding sources were required to make the $24.8 million project feasible and preserve the historical details, including the famous cactus garden. Financing included American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, historic and low-income housing tax credits, and city and Pima County funds. The second phase of the project was completed in March 2011.