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‘Cottage’ community designed for students

The student housing project under way at Sunport SE and I-25 will look like The Cottages at College Station, shown here with a clubhouse and swimming pool near Texas A&M, but tweaked to reflect a Southwest style. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)
The student housing project under way at Sunport SE and I-25 will look like The Cottages at College Station, shown here with a clubhouse and swimming pool near Texas A&M, but tweaked to reflect a Southwest style. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)
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Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal

Ala.-based developer breaks ground near Sunport for housing with new urbanism neighborhood feel

A new urbanism approach to student rental housing, based on a neighborhood concept of traditional houses, is coming to the northeast corner of Sunport Boulevard SE and Interstate 25.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Capstone Collegiate Communities already has broken ground on The Cottages of New Mexico, which will have the capacity for about 786 residents in four- and five-bedroom “cottages” ranging in size from 1,550 to 1,880 square feet.

Capstone Collegiate Communities’ leasing office, shown here at 2720 Central SE across from UNM’s Johnson Field, will open today for its approximately 786-bed development. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

Capstone Collegiate Communities’ leasing office, shown here at 2720 Central SE across from UNM’s Johnson Field, will open today for its approximately 786-bed development. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

“The Cottages of New Mexico is more of a front-porch community than your typical apartment complex,” said Blair Hebert, vice president of marketing and leasing for Capstone Collegiate.

“Each cottage is unique with its own color, style, front and back porch plus the luxury of not having to worry about anyone living above or below you. Situated on approximately 21 acres of land, the community will consist of free-standing houses, duplexes and townhouses.”

The project, based on a concept that Capstone first built in 2006 at Auburn University, is scheduled to be ready by August 2014. It will be a gated community with shuttle service to and from the University of New Mexico campus. Amenities will include a clubhouse and swimming pool.

A project cost is not yet available, Hebert said. Based on a calculation using its acreage and number of residents, the development cost for The Cottages of New Mexico likely will be upward of $30 million, making it one of the biggest private-sector projects of the year in the Albuquerque metro area.

This is a sample design of a duplex that will be built at The Cottages of New Mexico, a student housing project that will be built in the new urbanism style with added Southwestern touches. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

This is a sample design of a duplex that will be built at The Cottages of New Mexico, a student housing project that will be built in the new urbanism style with added Southwestern touches. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

The furnished housing units are designed to accommodate students, in that individuals will rent a bedroom with private bathroom rather than rent the entire unit. For example, five friends get together to rent a unit’s five bedrooms – each having their own lease – but of course live in the entire unit.

While the targeted pool of prospective tenants is students at UNM and Central New Mexico Community College, the community will be open to renters from the public, Hebert said.

Capstone will open a leasing office today at 9 a.m. at 2720 Central SE, across from Johnson Field on the UNM campus. Monthly rents will start at $549, which includes cable television, Internet, water and sewer, Hebert said.

“On Sept. 4, prospective residents will be able to begin signing leases to reserve their cottage,” she said.

This is a sample design of a free-standing “cottage” that Birmingham, Ala.-based Capstone Collegiate Communities plans to build at the northeast corner of Sunport SE and I-25. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

This is a sample design of a free-standing “cottage” that Birmingham, Ala.-based Capstone Collegiate Communities plans to build at the northeast corner of Sunport SE and I-25. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

Explaining the opening of a leasing office a year in advance of the project completion, Hebert said: “Every market is different. Typically, what we see with cottage developments is that students want to reserve their spot early in a new community. They might want to be near the swimming pool or in a free-standing house.”

Capstone, which has developed more than $3 billion worth of on- and off-campus housing since 1990, scouted Albuquerque a few years ago.

“When researching the Albuquerque market, we realized that there is little purpose-built housing that caters to the needs of college-aged students,” Hebert said.

“With individual leases and proximity to campus, in addition to our ability to fulfill the social and academic lifestyle element that students desire, we feel as though the Albuquerque market is perfect for a cottage community.”

This shows a sample design of the townhouse residences planned at the neighborhood-style student housing project under way near the Sunport. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

This shows a sample design of the townhouse residences planned at the neighborhood-style student housing project under way near the Sunport. (Courtesy of Capstone Collegiate Communities)

Capstone worked with the land brokerage team of Trevor Hatchell, Mike Schiffer and Amanda Velarde of CBRE, a commercial real-estate services firm, to find a site.

“They were looking for a parcel with 25-30 acres within a three-mile radius of campus,” Hatchell said. “This was really the only site.”

The land acquisition took more than two years because it involved assembling several plots of land under different ownership, he said. Capstone has an additional roughly 10 acres of adjacent land under contract for a second phase of the project, he said.

Capstone Collegiate, which focuses on the development of off-campus student housing, is one of four separate but closely aligned businesses under the Capstone Companies umbrella. Its three product types are the neighborhood-style cottages, higher-density “lodges” and urban infill “lofts.”

“Capstone has been in business for over 20 years focusing solely on the development and management of student housing communities around the nation,” Hebert said. “We are very excited to be a part of the Albuquerque market and look forward to sharing exactly what ‘the cottage lifestyle’ is all about.”

This shows a sample design of the townhouse residences planned at the neighborhood-style student housing project under way near the Sunport.

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