ABQ announces 191-unit apartment complex approved for Downtown amid housing shortage

By: - September 20, 2021 2:52 pm

This lot at First Street and Silver will be the location of affordable housing in Downtown Albuquerque if all the approvals go through. (Photo by Marisa Demarco | Source NM)

A Downtown Albuquerque apartment complex is one step closer to being built, according to city officials, potentially bringing nearly 200 affordable apartments to a city facing a housing shortage and steep increase in rent costs.

The city is teaming up with REMBE Urban Design and Development to build the “Downtowner,” a six-story, 191-unit complex that would be built at First Street and Silver Avenue. 

The amount of taxpayer money contributed to the project will be negotiated in the development agreement for the property, said city spokesperson Sarah Wheeler. The city expects to provide land for the project and “additional assistance to be negotiated,” according to Albuquerque Development Commission materials. 

The developer will also seek a multifamily building development loan from Housing and Urban Development, according to the records. 

The $30 million project got the OK from the Albuquerque Development Commission on Thursday, according to a city news release. 

The next step is to negotiate the development agreement and then sent that back to the commission, Wheeler said. After that, it will go to the City Council for approval. 

The project will take three years to build once an agreement is finalized, according to the records. 

The city’s housing shortage has intensified during the pandemic. Housing prices have increased and so has rent. 

A May 2020 study by the Urban Institute found that Albuquerque has a shortage of about 15,500 affordable housing units and a shortage of about 800 units for those who recently experienced homelessness. 

In addition to basic apartments, the building would have nine live-work units, a cafe or retail space, and an event space. It would also provide 60 parking spaces and 200 bicycle spaces, according to the news release. 

REMBE was the only company that responded to the city’s request for proposals in July 2020 to build the complex, according to the news release. The city extended the submission period by one month to encourage additional applicants, Wheeler said, but no luck.

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Patrick Lohmann
Patrick Lohmann

Patrick Lohmann has been a reporter since 2007, when he wrote stories for $15 apiece at a now-defunct tabloid in Gallup, his hometown. Since then, he's worked at UNM's Daily Lobo, the Albuquerque Journal and the Syracuse Post-Standard. Along the way, he's won several state and national awards for his reporting, including for an exposé on a cult-like Alcoholics Anonymous group and a feature on an Upstate New York militia member who died of COVID-19. He's thrilled to be back home in New Mexico, where he works to tell stories that resonate and make an impact.