The vacant and condemned Sands Motel on California Street.
File photo | El Defensor Chieftain


The Sands Motel is one step closer to demolition after a Socorro City Council decision last week.

First though, the city will have to pay $134,000 to abate the asbestos in the structure. The money will be spent out of city reserves. City administration plans to place a lien against the property in an estimated $180,000 to $200,000 range to recoup expenses after it is cleaned up.

The motel is located on California Street, a main thoroughfare through town. Sometimes people seek shelter in the vacant buildings. According to previous coverage, from 2018 to 2021 the Socorro Police Department has reports related to the property that include trespasses, burglaries, possession of controlled substances and one structure fire.

The city council approved condemning the vacant property last summer but were willing to move back on that decision if the owner showed improvements to the property. City administration has not been able to contact the property owner since last year, even through the lawyer who represented them in a city hearing last summer, according to Mayor Ravi Bhasker.

In January, city administration looked into legal concerns surrounding demolishing the motel. Bhasker told the Council last week that they have the legal go ahead to demolish the building. The Council unanimously approved doing so.

“I think at this point it’s such a bad thing for the city to have, that I’m not going to hesitate to spend that money upfront, and it’s cash. It’s money that we have in reserves and I don’t see any better use for that money than clean that little spot up,” said Bhasker. “It’s going to be hell for that owner. I’m going to try to get all my money back one way or the other.”


Cathy Cook, Editor, El Defensor Chieftain