Sunday, April 01, 2007

More Flats

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.


philly said...

hey Tim, Don't know if you've already seen this.

Tim said...

Philly, Great find! Wow, I didn't think that the developer would go for affordability at that location. What a spectacular project. It's nice to see the Highland district on the up and up.

Tim said...

Oops, I spoke too soon. They don't have prices yet.

philly said...

Hey Tim, any word on the DT Arena?
Any news on who won the bid?
Thanx man, love the website. Ya need more posts!

ABQist said...

Hi Tim,

I just found your blog and was really excited to see I'm not alone in wanting to see positive growth in ABQ. I was born here in 1960 and I could tell you many horror stories of the wonderful developments rejected by previous anti-growth administrations. I'm tired of it and think something needs to be done. For example, are you aware that the mayor and the planning board have already rejected the beautiful 22 story version of the hotel (/arena) in favor of the Hunt Group's horizontal brick wall eyesore? Did you know that two existing ugly horizontal uptown hotels that not only block the view of the mountains, but block the view of everything, were originally proposed as glorious slender vertical towers but were rejected in the name of "Keep it small?" "It will block the view of the mountains," they said. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Did you know that today you are supposed to be getting around ABQ on a freeway loop proposed in the early 1970’s?

The current mayor said one of his goals was to have every median in ABQ landscaped before he leaves office. He's in his third term and I would like to know why he hasn't delivered on his promise. Why is there no landscaping taking place at the Big-I? The $10 million funding is in place and work was supposed to start in April. The city council is known for taking allocated funds, for the aquarium for example, and applying them to some special interest pet project. They probably have their eye on that $10 mil.

Recently, the mayor and city council voted to spend $6 million to block a beautiful new Wal-Mart on Osuna and keep the property as "open space" (i.e. weed patch.) Wal-Mart bent over backwards to make this store beautiful and workable. The North Valley fought it and our present admin sided with the North Valley. These people will STILL shop at Wal-Mart - the one in your neighborhood and mine, and they will have to drive farther. They will congest my neighborhood with traffic and smog and overflow the parking lots and checkout lines in my neighborhood. This is irresponsibility of money management and city planning on the part of the mayor and city council. Only Sally Mayer was against the city purchase of the Wal-Mart property. Her and I both agree that too much open space has already been purchased and plans to make improvements (such as parks, roads, picnic amenities, etc.) to these properties have been shucked because the allocated funds have been used instead to purchase even more open space. A 50 acre park in my neighborhood has been delayed until 2013 because anti-growth combatants spent the money fighting jobs and tax revenues that this wonderful Wal-Mart would have brought.

We have ten people here who are making decisions about the future of ABQ who do not represent the majority. They have neglected promises to make ABQ a better place. I have an idea where people like you and I can make a difference. I would like to speak with you personally. How can we exchange emails or phone numbers?