Ghost Ranch Lodge

Tucson, Arizona

Award Type: Honor Award

The historic Ghost Ranch Lodge, originally designed by renowned Swiss architect Josias Joesler in 1941, was rehabilitated and converted into much-needed affordable senior housing.

In 1941, Tucson’s Miracle Mile was thriving and renowned Swiss architect Josias Joesler’s Ghost Ranch Lodge was the finest motor court on the strip. Guests knew they had arrived the minute they spotted Georgia O’Keefe’s signature cow-skull sign. Once interstate highways lured travelers away, the neighborhood fell on hard times and the lodge sat vacant and dilapidated for years.

In 2007, a new developer purchased the property at auction, formed a network of partnerships and created a complex package of funding sources to realize a new use for the old lodge: a subsidized housing development for seniors and the physically disabled. To preserve the historic character, roof tiles were removed and replaced one at a time, outdated fixtures were brought back into use, and energy-saving innovations were added, along with a clubhouse and a lounge. Even the historic desert cactus garden was revived. The restoration has reinvigorated the community and has spurred reinvestment in the Miracle Mile.