Sunday, April 01, 2007
Following up my brain drain post, and after extensive thought, I've decided that the key to creating this youthful synergy is the availability of denser rental units. The urban parts of the city have not seen new apartment units constructed since the redevelopment of Old Main and the tangent building at the Old Albuquerque High School Lofts. Since, the area has been infused with for-sale condos that have attracted an older, more well-heeled buyer. This has been the trend along Central Ave. from the nice, poorly placed units at San Pasqual to the contemporary units by Sheffield Partners in East Nob Hill.
Currently, the apartment market in the metro area shows well above 90% occupancy with rental rates rising. And with the need for rental rates above $1 a square foot in order to produce a rate of return that is attractive to developers, it would appear that the market is ready. Albuquerque High Lofts as well as the apartments along Coal in downtown are constantly filled and there are even waiting lists. So what's the holdup?
Now, if the city took a proactive role in downtown and set goals for housing in order to revitalize the CBD, would it be too much to ask for the city to purchase land for such development? Such an arrangement would assist the developer in making a profit as well as providing much needed affordable housing in the area where students, service workers and young professionals could live, work and play in the area.
Fortunately, there is hope in the form of the new developments being planning for the area surrounding the former Greyhound bus station near Silver and 2nd St. From what I understand, several architecture firms in town are designing several mixed-use projects for the area and at least one project is likely to contain over 100 affordable residential units in an energy-friendly building. These developments are currently being projected to start construction at the beginning of 2008. Let's hope by then the arena and hotel will be starting construction as well. The rapid infusion of $200-$400 million all within a few blocks is bound to revitalize popular opinion of downtown. In the meantime we get to watch the construction of BelVedere, Silver Lofts phase II and the 7-story Anasazi.
Posted by Tim at 6:37 PM