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Virgin Galactic Chooses New Mexico Hotel to House its Future Space Travelers

11 Jul 2014, 7:23 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Virgin Galactic has chosen Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces as its first official hotel to serve the needs of its elite passengers who will pay $200,000 each to travel to space from Spaceport America.

Hotel Encanto will be the exclusive Dona Ana County Future Astronaut hotel, upgrading its services to offer a premium experience. Dedicated Guest Concierges will be hired and new rooms, facilities and multi-lingual staff will be added.

Hotel Encanto has already started remodeling works, specially designed for the Virgin Galactic experience, such as guest rooms, the outdoor pool and terraced gardens, as well as the Azul Nightclub & Lounge, a 2,500-square foot seating.

The privately-funded company also announced a contract with World Class Gourmet and Chef Tatsu Miyazaki to provide catering for the travelers during the three-day training session.

“By partnering with Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces and World Class Gourmet, we further our vision of investing in the local New Mexico community while we define the Virgin Galactic astronaut experience,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. “Future Astronauts will come from around the world to New Mexico, so it’s important that they experience the outstanding local offerings and character as part of their experience.”

The hotel sector in the Southwest region posted its best showing in several years, according to a Marcus and Millichap report. At the beginning of 2014, occupancy in New Mexico has risen to 51.9 percent, 90 basis points higher than one year ago.

Room revenue is slowly regaining its strength, still behind the peak in 2008, but almost 12 percent higher in the first quarter of this year than the previous one. Transactions increased more than 70 percent, supported by the broader access to acquisition debt, while the recovery in property operations intensified bidding.

Photos courtesy of Hotel Encanto.

Moderate-Income Apartments in Downtown Albuquerque Nears Completion

2 Jul 2014, 3:10 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The mixed-use project  located at the periphery of Albuquerque’s Central Business District along historic Route 66 is nearing completion. The opening date is set for August 8, reports Albuquerque Business First.

Silver Moon Lodge, whose address is 901 Park Avenue SW, is a moderate-income tax credit project. The development totals 106,307 square feet divided into 141 units displayed on four stories. Prospective residents have 65 one-bedroom units and 86 studio apartments to choose from ranging in size from 429 to 857 square feet.

A 4,500-square-foot retail space located at the corner of Central Avenue and 10th Street is intended for community-serving retail or commercial use. Amenities include a social-gathering patio space on the upper level, a hot tub and swimming pool in the courtyard, clubhouse, exercise facility, recycling center, and bicycle parking and repair shop. Parking is limited, providing less than one space for every six units. However, the property is highly accessible to regional mass transportation.

GFL Properties, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is the owner and general contractor of the residential complex. Dekker-Perich-Sabatini is the architect behind the design of the project. The project has been designed to meet silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Pre-leasing has already started and open houses are scheduled to present some of the community’s features.

Photo courtesy of Silver Moon Lodge.

HB Construction Builds $10M Boys & Girls Club With Funding From J.F Maddox Foundation

25 Jun 2014, 9:44 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

J.F Maddox Foundation has offered funding for a new $10 million Boys & Girls Club facility at 301 E. Broadway St. in Hobbs. The philanthropic foundation invests in education, community development and social programs.

The general contractor on the project is Albuquerque-based HB Construction.

The new development broke ground early this week. It will encompass 28,000 square feet, replacing the existing club which was originally built in 1969 and that was formerly a Safeway grocery store. Two large gyms, a theater, an art room, administration wing, multi-purpose rooms, and a technology center are part of the project’s design. The outdoor area will feature a garden, a basketball court, a wall ball court, play fields, and a gathering area. The architect for the new facility is RMKM Architecture.

“Hobbs has changed dramatically over the years, but the Club has remained steadfast in its mission to provide a safe and secure place for kids, especially those most at risk,” said J. F Maddox Foundation President Jim Maddox. “The new facility will be a wonderful addition to the revitalization efforts in the downtown area, and we are especially excited about having this state-of-the-art building in an area that is close to the children it serves.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Hobbs currently serves approximately 1,200 children yearly at the Club’s four locations throughout Hobbs, including the Club’s three school-based sites at College Lane Elementary School, Stone Elementary School and Taylor Elementary School.

Photo courtesy of HB Construction

Jane Fonda’s Forked Lightning Ranch Listed for $19.5M

18 Jun 2014, 7:59 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

North of Albuquerque and near Santa Fe there’s a serene place bathed by Pecos River, a place that Hollywood actress Jane Fonda has been calling home since year 2000. Forked Lightning Ranch has been her escape place; adjacent to Pecos National Historical Park, this property is the middle part of the former 13,000-acre cattle ranch owned by movie star Greer Garson and her husband. She now decided it is time to let go and has put it up for sale.

The transaction is being handled by the Swan Land Co. of Bozeman, Montana. The asking price is of $19,500,000. The 2,300-acre ranch has been built to re-create the look of traditional northern New Mexico dwellings, starting with the 9,585-square foot adobe home with antique doors and beams made of reclaimed wood. Six bedrooms and five bathrooms are complemented by a 20-by-60-foot outdoor swimming pool, and an organic vegetable and herb garden.

A 2,125-square-foot guest house, the “Hacienda”, offers another five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a patio, while the 3,409-square-foot log house adds another two bedrooms. These two are older buildings renovated by the Oscar-winning actress. On site there is an equestrian facility with 12 stalls completed with riding trails and paddocks, as well as a gym with mirrored walls and rubber mat flooring.

Fonda is known to be an inveterate collector and this can be seen throughout the house. The antiques, artwork, rugs, furniture and a literary collection can also be purchased, along with the ranch equipment and machinery. However, these are to be negotiated outside the real estate transaction.

Photos courtesy of Swan Land Company.

Heritage Hotels and Resorts Acquires Eldorado Hotel & Spa

5 Jun 2014, 2:07 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Eldorado Hotel & Spa, Santa Fe’s 219-room hotel, has been acquired by Heritage Hotels and Resorts in partnership with several co-investors, including insurance executive Randy Talbot.

The transaction has been financed by Washington Federal and First National Bank of Santa Fe, and brokered by Stu Sherman.

“This will be the first time in its history that New Mexican families will own the property,” Heritage said in a news release. Previously the hotel had been owned by a partnership led by the Guardian Life Insurance Co.

Heritage Hotels and Resorts owns three other Santa Fe hotels – Hotel St. Francis, Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe and The Lodge at Santa Fe – and several properties in Taos, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque. “The Eldorado Hotel & Spa is one of the premier properties in Santa Fe and New Mexico. We are excited to add this property to our collection of culturally designed New Mexico hotels,” Heritage Hotels & Resorts CEO Jim Long stated in the news release.

“Santa Fe is a world class traveler destination. We feel very fortunate for the opportunity, alongside the high quality and tenured Eldorado staff, to provide an experience at the very top of expectations during our visitors stay in this beautiful city and state,” Talbot said in the Heritage statement.

Eldorado was built in 1986 and designed by Santa Fe architect Wayne Lloyd. It offers employment to 200 people. Heritage will take on management responsibilities. The hotel is home to Santa Fe’s largest ballroom, the 4,320-square-foot Anasazi Ballroom, and two additional ones. The 6,488-square-foot Pavilion is the property’s largest event space, currently used to provide meeting and social event space. The Old House restaurant is also inside Eldorado, led by Executive Chef Anthony Smith, rated by Zagat as New Mexico’s best.

Photo courtesy of Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Work to Begin on $80M Expansion of Presbyterian Rust Medical Center

28 May 2014, 9:33 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Presbyterian Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho has been scheduled for an expansion. Construction has started and will materialize into a new patient tower and a cancer center at 2400 Unser Blvd. SE.

The new patient tower will occupy six stories and will include 120 beds, and the cancer center will encompass 21,500 square feet, reports Albuquerque Business First. The total investment will be of $80 million. The general contractor for the expansion project is McCarthy Building Cos. which collaborated with architect Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, keeping the same team structure as on the original Rust project.

The medical center spans over 66 acres and currently is the workplace for 600 people. The new development will make room for 100 more. During construction, patients will access the Emergency Department through the main hospital entrance on Wellspring Blvd. Parking will be available in the lots east of the Physician Office Building adjacent to the hospital and whenever possible, in the lots closest to the main entrance. The current Emergency Department is expected to reopen in March 2015.

The massive expansion is scheduled to be completed in late-2015 to early-2016.

One of the top U.S. commercial builders, McCarthy is headquartered on St. Louis with offices nationwide. The 150 years of existence made them experienced in 44 states and with $3 billion in annual revenues.

Photo courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.

NewLife Homes Turns The Sundowner Motel, Former Bill Gates Abode, into Affordable Apt. Community

21 May 2014, 9:43 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Sundowner Motel is famous for its location in the heart of Albuquerque on historic Route 66 and for having served as home to Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen in the mid-1970s, but it is no longer what it used to be. The property has been transformed into a residential complex with commercial space for small businesses by NewLife Homes.

The building was originally built in 1959; after the construction of Interstate 40 it entered a difficult period which ended with the motel closing in 2009. The vintage Vegas makeover required over $9 million; the redevelopment now offers 71 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for low-, middle-income families and disabled people. Funding includes $5.4 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits through the Mortgage Finance Authority and $2.1 through the city of Albuquerque’s Workforce Housing Trust Fund. Through an Affordable Housing Program grant, $500,000 was provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.

The project complies with LEED for HOMES certification and each unit has ENERGY STAR appliances. Moreover, throughout design and construction the developer worked with Green Insight who focuses on finding opportunities for energy savings. Trees have been planted to reduce the local heat island effect, providing shade for at least 50 percent of sidewalks, patios and driveways within 50 feet of the home. Additionally, a system that harvests and stores rainwater has been installed to be used for landscape irrigation.

Taking into account that the majority of its residents do not own vehicles, a parking waiver has been granted so that the site has less parking than required by code. Furthermore, being “pro-public transportation” in an effort to reduce heat-island effect, Sundowner is conveniently located adjacent to a Central Ave bus stop.

Photo courtesy of NewLife Homes

Santa Fe Opera’s ‘Setting the Stage’ Campaign Undertakes $35 Million for Renovation and Expansion

14 May 2014, 4:31 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Since New York conductor John Crosby founded the company in 1956 and presented its first performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly a year later, The Santa Fe Opera has built up its influence becoming one of the world’s most highly regarded summer opera festivals. The facility it calls home is a major piece of real estate with a splendid fusion of nature through its dramatic adobe theater. The 200-acre facility has its own waste water treatment plant, a feature that no other opera company in the world can claim.

On the stage everything looks flawless—the props, the scenery, the costumes—but off-stage things are different. “There is a critical need to bring our backstage facilities into the 21st century,” said General Director Charles MacFay, and necessary steps toward achieving this goal are in progress. The opera will begin an ambitious three-year renovation program in September 2014, scheduled to be completed in time for the SFO’s 60th anniversary. The work has been carefully scheduled to not disrupt the opera seasons.

The daring project costs $35 million of which $24.3 million has been raised with help from the board of directors and friends of the company. The funds are being divided into three categories: $23 million will be spent on construction, $8 million reserved for upkeep and maintenance, and $4 million to support mainstage programming.

“This multi-year plan has been carefully thought out,” according to MacKay. “It follows the ‘Building a Sound Future’ campaign launched in 2006 during the company’s 50th anniversary season. That project addressed dining, rehearsal and practice facilities, and administrative offices.”

The work will be completed in three phases. Around 36,000 square feet will be renovated and more than 28,000 square feet added to current facilities.

The shop will be relocated and doubled in size, a covered food service will be added, the lavatories will almost double and they will be moved to more convenient locations, the dressing rooms will be refurbished and upgraded and the costume shop will be expanded. More importantly, the backstage and production areas will be renovated and enlarged. The parking lot will be repaved and enlarged and storage warehouses for sets and props will be built.

The architect hired for the new campaign, “Setting the Stage,” is New York-based Juan Matiz of Matiz Architecture & Design, formerly of Polshek Partners, the firm that designed the 1998 theater, and thus fully committed to maintaining the original aesthetic. Harris Consultants will oversee the construction.

Photos courtesy of The Santa Fe Opera.

Former Beach Waterpark Site Listed for Sale for $12.5M; Uptown Square Venture Closed on $3.6M Refinance for Mixed-Use Property

7 May 2014, 10:17 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

For 18 years the Beach Waterpark has been a staple of the summer for Albuquerque’s children. Unfortunately, it was shut down in 2005 after it received an “unsatisfactory” rating from the Environmental Health Department. A year later everything on site was auctioned off, and ever since the land has remained empty.

The 23-acre lot is located off North Interstate 25 and Montaño and, according to Albuquerque Business First, it is now listed for sale at a price appraised by Sedberry & Associates at $12.5 million. Its location makes it ideal for a mixed-use development, including retail, hotel, restaurants, entertainment, office, and showrooms, while its size makes it suitable for one or multiple developers.

“The restaurant users can be strategically placed along the frontage road with direct frontage road access and maximum visibility to 200,000 cars per day on I-25,” John Sedberry, president of  Sedberry & Associates reported.

On different news, Uptown Square Venture closed a refinance loan for a mixed-use building development with help from EverBank Commercial Real Estate Group. The amount of the transaction was of $3.6 million over a term of 25 years.

“In our business, speed, flexible loan terms and competitive rates are essential to our bottom line,” stated John Whisenant, managing partner, Uptown Square Venture. “Dave Christiansen of Berkadia and the team at EverBank not only made sure the deal closed on time despite market fluctuations, but also provided us with a structure that ensures we can continue to take advantage of other opportunities. We look forward to working with them again for our commercial mortgage needs.”

Nordstrom Rack Enters the Albuquerque Retail Market at Winrock Town Center

30 Apr 2014, 10:21 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Well-known Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. announced its plans to enter the Albuquerque market by opening a Nordstrom Rack at Winrock Town Center in the Uptown corridor. The retail store is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

“We’ve long heard from customers in New Mexico that they’d love to have a Nordstrom offering and we’re thrilled to bring a Nordstrom Rack to Albuquerque,” said Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, in a news release. “We believe Winrock Town Center represents a great mix of shopping and entertainment in the area and we look forward to opening our doors next fall.”

Located along Interstate 40, the 83-acre Winrock Town Center is ideally located for Albuquerque and also Santa Fe. Goodman Realty Group is the developer, and Pegasus Retail is exclusively managing the leasing process.

The new Nordstrom Rack store will encompass approximately 33,500 square feet, adding to the over 140 Nordstrom Racks in the U.S. This move represents an important gain for Winrock’s strategy of  adding restaurants, retail, the Regal IMAX theater, and, in the near future, high-end apartments, to its perimeter. Another retailer to enter Winrock is DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse), also opening its first store in New Mexico.

“Nordstrom Rack is a pivotal retailer in the New Mexico market, adding even more punch to our powerful retail, entertainment and restaurant lineup,” said Colette Wharton, asset manager for Goodman Realty Group.

Still under development, Winrock is said to eventually support 1.5 million square feet of large and small national and local retail. Moreover, 500,000 square feet of office space, 2,000 multifamily units, and boutique hotel, restaurants, and recreational facilities will complete the town center.

Geltmore’s $20M Mixed-Use Project in Downtown Albuquerque to Receive Tax Credit

16 Apr 2014, 10:54 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Albuquerque-based family-owned firm Geltmore LLC has scheduled to start construction by the end of the year on a mixed-use development at 205 Silver Avenue SW, between Second and Third Streets.

The project consists of a grocery store of 12,000 square feet, retail space, eateries, and 74 residential units.

The Imperial Building will be the result of a public-private partnership. Geltmore will work with YES Housing on the living spaces. The estimated cost for the project, which will occupy about one acre, is almost $20 million.

Recently, the project received a preliminary award for a 9 percent low income housing tax credit through the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, becoming the first urban mixed-use developments to receive funds from the NMMFA. David Silverman, principal at Geltmore, told Albuquerque Business First that they anticipate to receive the final award at the NNMFA’s May board meeting. The tax credits will be applied to the residential units.

The project has received the support of several city institutions, including the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency, Family & Community Services Department, Bernalillo County, the New Mexico Environmental Department and the NMMFA.  “It is very exciting that the grocery store, which will be the catalytic project for Downtown Albuquerque, will soon be a reality. We are confident that our city will have the opportunity to start shopping at the grocery store in the first quarter of 2016,” David Silverman added.

Photo courtesy of Geltmore LLC

Owner of La Posada Purchases La Castaneda Hotel

10 Apr 2014, 10:03 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Some rescue animals, other choose to rescue pieces of history. One such person is Allan Affeldt, famous for the spectacular renovation of one of the historic Harvey House hotels – La Posada in Winslow, Ariz. Recently Affeldt announced his purchase of the historic Castaneda Hotel.

Originally built by renowned immigrant Fred Harvey, the hotel has been on the market for the last 10 years, and for five years its listing agent has been Santa Fe’s DeAnne Ottoway of Sotheby’s. Although prohibited from making public the selling price, Ottoway told Albuquerque Journal a few months ago that Sotheby’s listed it at $450,000. Details about the final transaction have not been disclosed.

The hotel had opened on Jan. 1st, 1899 and represented the first of a new generation of grand Harvey House hotels. Its architectural style, Mission Revival, managed by California architects Frederic Louis Roehrig and A. Reinsch, was at that time new to New Mexico. The hotel on Railroad Avenue “sits a few miles from Route 66, but has become a common side trip for travelers exploring the 1926-37 alignment of the old road that looped to Santa Fe,” the route66news website says. In 1948 the hotel closed.

La Posada and La Castaneda are sister buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The $12 million renovation invested in La Posada turned it into what readers of Conde Nast magazine voted as theseventh best hotel in the Southwest. Renovating the Castaneda “would be catalytic for Las Vegas with its historic buildings and its amazing downtown,” Affeldt said in February.

Photo courtesy of Harvey Houses

Albuquerque Opens Public Comment Period for Apartment Development on Uptown Transit Site

3 Apr 2014, 9:55 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The southeast corner of Albuquerque’s Uptown and American Parkway NE is the focus of attention for city officials this year. Private developers are submitting proposals for the Uptown Transit Center development consisting of apartments, commercial space and parking.

The one-acre site was acquired by the city in the 1990s using federal funding. One quarter-acre was to be used as transfer station for the city’s bus system, the ABQ Ride. “We’re moving forward now because we think the timing is right,” Bruce Rizzieri told Albuquerque Journal. “We think there’s a need for the type of studios and apartments that are being proposed for this area.”

Renowned Albuquerque consulting firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini has presented a conceptual design comprised of 122 apartments of one- and two-bedrooms plus studio units, a parking structure displayed on two levels that will fit 220 vehicles, and almost 16,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

The apartments are designed as market-rate units priced around $800 per month, meant for younger residents who prefer to live closer to jobs and the array of activities the Uptown offers. “They like to be near activities where they don’t need to have a car to get to,” Rizzieri stated. “Uptown obviously is an active area.” Coronado Center, ABQ Uptown, and other retail establishments are close by, and the Uptown Transit Center offers access to the Rapid Ride limited-stop, express bus service and the rest of the transit system.

Public comments are accepted at Lkline@cabq.gov by the end of the week, and a proposal will be drafted by late April. After that, the city will accept request for proposals from developers through the end of the current year.

Developers Launch 71-Unit Public/Private Tax Credit Development Located in Downtown Albuquerque

28 Mar 2014, 10:29 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor


About a year ago, Romero Rose partnered with Yes Housing Inc. to construct a three-building multifamily development at 215 Lead Ave. SW. This public/private development was recently finalized and leasing is booming, with occupancy already registering at 51 percent.

Casitas de Colores was built with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The tax credits were awarded to the partnership in 2012 by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority. The project provides 71 one- to three-bedroom units: 49 units are income-restricted based on HUD guidelines, and 22 units are market-rate.

The community is a “family-focused community,” located two blocks from the Alvarado Multi-modal Transportation Center, close to retail and entertainment places, and local government offices and employment opportunities.

All units have private patios or balconies, and two of the three buildings feature courtyards with outdoor living amenities such as gas grills. The interior common areas offer a laundry facility, a fitness room and a learning center. The development is designed to achieve LEED Platinum, Energy Star and Enterprise Green Communities certifications.

Water-conserving fixtures and Energy Star-rated appliances are installed in all the units. A photovoltaic array takes care of the common area electrical needs, while rain water is collected in underground retention tanks and used for supplement irrigation of the low water usage landscape. Reflective white roofs are installed to reduce cooling loads.

Casitas de Colores was designed by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini architects, and Bradbury Stamm Construction was the general contractor. The cost of the 53,644-square-foot multifamily rental development was $16.3 million.

Photos courtesy of Jonathan Rose Companies

Affordable Solar Announces Projects for Three Businesses in Albuquerque

20 Mar 2014, 9:34 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Albuquerque-based Affordable Solar provides solar project design, project development, construction, distribution and solar integrator support. Since 1998, the company has supplied over 15,000 photovoltaic systems to properties in 96 countries.

Recently, the company announced the completion of three commercial solar array systems for commercial properties from the metro area in Albuquerque. This type of investment translates into higher value for the properties. The improvement pays for itself as soon as it gets financed, and allows for savings in electric utility costs.

One of the three businesses that turned to Affordable Solar’s systems is The Center for BioScience, a business incubator located in the northeast part of the city. They’ve had installed a 25.5 kW DC solar electric array, more precisely 126 Canadian Solar 245 watt panels, anchored on Unirac mounting equipment made in Albuquerque. The new system is expected to save the Center for BioScience $5,640 after the first year and $142,028 over a 25-year period, in avoided energy costs.

Goodman’s Interior Structures is another of the three companies to have chosen Affordable Solar. This office furniture dealership installed the solar electric array in their Albuquerque showroom; it consists of 30 kW DC, 100 Canadian Solar 285 watt panels and Unirac mounting racking system. Their savings after one year will total $9,571, and in 25 years nearly $400,000 will be spared through energy savings.

The third company that considered investing in Affordable Solar is Autry Plaza, a multi-unit office building on San Pedro Neb. they’ve installed 30 kW DC solar array, composed out of 100 Canadian Solar 300 watt panels, using the Unirac gear. The forecasted savings after year one is $8,330 and $261,316 after 25 years. Attorney Will Ferguson, owner of Autry Plaza said, “The process was quick, painless and professional. I’m pleased with the installation and the prospects for the project going forward. The revised economics will be transformational for our older, but still desirable building.”

The three buildings feed renewable energy back into the grid, helping create a cleaner future for the city; combined, they will save at least $1,057,556 according to a press release.

Photo courtesy of Affordable Solar.

Del Webb Announces Its First Community in Albuquerque

13 Mar 2014, 9:56 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Three years ago, Del Webb was opening Alegria, its first active adult community in Bernalillo, adding it to its portfolio of over 50 communities spread across 20 states throughout the Southwest, coastal regions and Midwest. Now they’re planning their first community in the heart of Albuquerque.

Del Webb will purchase 284 acres from Western Albuquerque Land Holdings LLC, and the parcel will make room for 538 Del Webb homes. The new community will be part of the Mirehaven master plan, an 886-lot project designed and developed by PulteGroup, the parent company of Del Webb. One of America’s largest homebuilding companies, PulteGroup operates in approximately 50 markets throughout the country.

“This is the first Del Webb community in the heart of Albuquerque and is ideally located for those boomers who want to continue to work and live in the city,” said in a news release Jay Gillilan, president of PulteGroup’s New Mexico Division. “We know many baby boomers will continue to work as they look to semi-retire or make plans to buy their new home for the future.  This will truly be a unique [55-plus] community with its intimate size, sought-after location and physical beauty of the area.”

To better suit the high number of baby boomers, the site is located 10 minutes from downtown, close to hospitals, the University of New Mexico, and retail businesses. Positioned in northwest Albuquerque, it is bordered by the Petroglyph National Monument open space on three sides. Both communities are tentatively scheduled to open in early 2015 with pre-sales in late 2014. On top of the regular separate amenities, the communities are planned to share centralized walking, hiking, and biking trails, as well as some private park areas.

Photo courtesy of Del Webb

LGI Homes Offers Affordable Single-Family Homes in Albuquerque

8 Mar 2014, 12:02 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Albuquerque has a new option for inhabitants who want to change their housing status from renters to homebuyers. The newest community constructed by Woodlands-based LGI Homes Inc., Camino Crossing offers affordable homes starting at $799 per month in the city of Rio Rancho.

Located 15 minutes northwest of downtown, the community’s floor plans include three-to-five bedroom, single-family homes that range in size from 1,300 to 2,500 square feet. Standard features are granite kitchen countertops with undermount sinks, energy-efficient appliances, upgraded 36’’ maple cabinets with crown molding, brushed nickel hardware and fixtures, and raised two-panel doors. Two car garages, covered back patios, and ceramic tile flooring in the entryway, kitchen, dining rooms, and bathrooms are included. A 10-year homeowner warranty is part of the offer, as well as fenced backyards and landscaping.

A large park, children’s playground, and walking and biking trails are part of the surrounding areas, and the proximity to the Sandia Mountains offers magnificent views. Camino Crossing is serviced by the Rio Rancho School District. It is located five miles from grocery stores, restaurants and shopping, and 10 miles from Cottonwood Mall. Entertainment opportunities aren’t missing: the community is also located near the Rio Rancho Sports Complex, Indoor Aquatic Center, Sandia Peak Ski and Tramway and Loma Colorado Public Library.

“There is no better place in Albuquerque to fulfill your dreams of homeownership,” Jody Pauza, vice president of Operations, said in a statement. “In Camino Crossing, homebuyers will find Rio Rancho’s best housing value in a picturesque location that they can feel proud to call home.”

Photo courtesy of LGI Homes

Edgewood Town Council Approves Master Plan for State Trust Land

28 Feb 2014, 11:07 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Edgewood Town Council has approved the master plan for Edgewood Commons. After holding public meetings, it has signed the Joint Planning Agreement (JPA). State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and Edgewood Mayor Brad Hill have given the go-ahead to the revision of the master plan for the state trust land, also known as Section 16.

The JPA goes beyond the cooperative working relationship between the State Land Office and the Town of Edgewood on Section 16. It targets the marketing of state trust lands for economic development purposes. Based on the open discussions with the public, the master plan includes a town center, recreational trails, public buildings, land, the expansion of the healthcare facility, economic development, and residential opportunities.

The Edgewood Commons master plan was initially produced in January 2000 by the New Mexico State Land Office. This is an update that details the process of turning a parcel into a central piece of the developing community.

“I greatly appreciate the outstanding working relationship we have with the elected, community, and business leaders of Edgewood. These relationships extend over 20 years and are based on mutual respect,” said Powell in a press release. “Edgewood has developed an outstanding vision for the future that will make it a wonderful place to live, do business, raise a family, and retire in. The healthier and more vibrant the community is, the more valuable state trust lands become and result in additional revenues for our public schools, universities, and hospitals and thus keep our taxpayer’s bills lower.”

“The master plan was designed to foster a community with a strong identity, while preserving the rural character of Edgewood as expressed by the public during the three public meetings,” added Edgewood Mayor Brad Hill. “The master plan exemplifies the Town’s desire to incorporate the residents’ vision of what their community should be.”

The Edgewood Commons master plan is posted on the website of New Mexico State Land Office.

Seven-Acre Townhome Project Breaks Ground in Rezoned Sawmill District

19 Feb 2014, 10:50 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Located north of Albuquerque’s Old Town, the Sawmill district is an area that recently has been rezoned from industrial to residential. The scenery changes progressively into a colorful mix of housing, commercial spaces and industrial lots. A groundbreaking event was by Sawmill Community Land Trust and Sawmill Crossing Partners last week to welcome Sawmill Crossing, a 78-unit townhouse complex.

The residential development, west of 12th Street and along Aspen NW, will be built on seven acres in the biggest private residential subdivision in the district so far, reports Albuquerque Journal. The first phase of the project encompasses six units and will be silver-certified through Build Green New Mexico and is scheduled to become available in May. Floors plans range in size from 1,200 square feet to over 1,600 square feet, with prices starting in the mid-$100,000.

Keith Cheshire of Sawmill Crossing Partners differentiates the 78 planned townhouses from the majority of the owner-occupied housing built in the last 20 years in two major ways:

  • They will be market rate units unsubsidized by government tax credits and income restrictions.
  • The units will be sold in a traditional “fee-simple” manner, unlike owner-occupied homes on trust land, which one buys and leases the land they sit on.

Last but not least, the Sawmill Crossing will differ from the existing housing through its architectural style: no New Urbanist vision here, no front porches, but garage doors are the dominant feature of its building’ fronts. Out of the 78 units, 44 have the potential for two-car garages. Garages are rare in this area, and the properties that lack them are usually deal breakers, stated Lynette Manzanares of Mercury Properties, the marketer of the townhomes in collaboration with Joe Corso.

Walmart Develops Two Neighborhood Markets in the Albuquerque Area

13 Feb 2014, 5:16 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

With about 300 Walmart markets throughout the country, the retail giant is in the process of adding two more in New Mexico: one in Albuquerque and the other in Rio Rancho, reports the Albuquerque Journal. New Mexico has four Neighborhood Markets, three in Albuquerque and one in Rio Rancho, and 13 Supercenter Stores.

The Albuquerque neighborhood market store will be built in Northeast Heights; the one in Rio Rancho is already in pre-construction at the site of a former movie theater at Southern Boulevard and NM 528, the Rio Rancho Twin Cinema, that’s currently being demolished. The grand opening is scheduled for later this year. It will encompass about 40,000 square feet, just a fifth of the super center at Unser and Southern boulevards that has 200,000 square feet.

The new store will eventually employ 65 people, said spokeswoman Delia Garcia. “We’ll be staffing for various positions, including sales, cashiers, the pharmacy,” Garcia added. “For anyone, whether they have experience in retail, or want to begin a career in retail, it will be a great opportunity to join a company that’s growing and is continuing to focus on its presence in New Mexico and in the Albuquerque area market in particular.”

“The focus is the convenient grocery shopping experience,” continued Garcia. “There are services like a pharmacy, health and beauty, pet supplies, household supplies — what you would find in a traditional grocery store.” The estimated cost for the development has not been made public, but the spokeswoman said the store is a “multimillion” dollar capital investment that has as objective the revitalization of the area.

Photo courtesy of Walmart