Home of famed balloon pilot Maxie Anderson sold

On Sept. 15, Los Ranchos leaders finalized the purchase of a home owned by famed balloon pilot Maxie Anderson.

The 6,000-square-foot house is located at 5100 Rio Grande Blvd. The $7.9 million purchase includes 23 acres of land. 

The land will serve as a “landing” destination for hot air balloons during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Mayor Donald Lopez said.

Last year, voters approved a bond proposal to help finance the purchase. General obligation bonds provide the Village with the funds necessary to buy such facilities, Lopez said. The Village will pay the loan over a 20-year period, he added. 

“The Village has acquired everything that the Andersons owned when they were operating and living here,” Lopez said. “The reason they sold it to the Village is because they had considerable trust in me to preserve the land.”

Plans to purchase the property were first brought to Lopez in 2022 by the eldest son of Anderson, Mike. In the coming years, Lopez hopes to convert the home into a conference center or museum. 

In addition, the property is located adjacent to Los Poblanos and the Larry P. Abraham Agri-Nature Center. In 2008, Los Ranchos purchased the Anderson Valley Vineyards and converted the site into a center for agriculture education, research and economic development. Over the years, the center has become a hotspot for agritourism, Lopez said. 

In 1978, Anderson and other balloon pilots made history by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a hot-air balloon. The balloon, Double Eagle II, is now the name of Albuquerque’s Westside airport. For his efforts, Anderson was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

“The property will be an asset to the Village of Los Ranchos for many decades,” Lopez said.


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