ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 66-unit Plaza Feliz Apartments, a redevelopment gem completed earlier this year in Albuquerque’s Trumbull neighborhood, has achieved LEED-H Platinum certification for a host of energy-efficient amenities including solar power.
Developed by the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, Plaza Feliz is a $12.2 million infill project on 3.5 acres at 517 San Pablo SE that offers two- and three-bedroom apartments to primarily low-income families.
“Our focus is families with children,” said Louis Kolker, the partnership’s executive director. “There are 78 kids living at Plaza Feliz, which is a pretty high ratio considering there are 66 apartments.”
From the start, platinum was the project’s goal for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The apartment buildings have all the water- and energy-saving elements expected in a LEED building, plus Energy Star-rated appliances.
“It keeps the utility bills down for all the residents in those units,” Kolker said.
Plaza Feliz encompasses about 75,000 square feet and was built at a cost of $113 a square foot. In addition to the 66 two-story apartments, it has a 1,500-square-foot leasing office and a 4,000-square-foot day-care center that will be operated by All Faiths Receiving Home. The day-care center, which will open soon, has the capacity for 50 children aged 5 and under.
“If we don’t fill it up with tenants who live there, we will open it up to families in the neighborhood,” he said.
The leasing office and day-care center will be fully supplied with electricity from a 24-kilowatt photovoltaic system.
Two components of the project were key to making it financially possible. The city donated the vacant land, once the site of substandard apartments that the city demolished.
The second key was the use of low-income housing tax credits, a federal incentive for developers to provide affordable housing, that are administered by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority. The tax credits, which are typically sold to a third party, provide a dollar-for-dollar credit on federal taxes.
Kolker credited Carol Sugarman for the successful tax-credit application. The project’s development team included Integrated Design and Architecture, and Pavilion Construction.