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Silver Ave. turning golden for apartments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When it comes to Downtown real estate development, Silver Avenue suddenly looks golden.

A former Downtown parking lot is being transformed into a mixed-income apartment complex rising at the southwest corner of Silver Avenue and Eighth Street.

It is one of several infill apartment projects already built or in the works along Silver — projects backed by both private and public investors.

Construction is in full swing on The Sterling Downtown, a 111-unit apartment building that’s being developed by the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership.

Last September, Bernalillo County approved a resolution to issue $10 million in multifamily housing revenue bonds through an allocation of Private Activity Bonds through the New Mexico State Board of Finance.  Sale of these bonds helped fund land acquisition and a majority of the construction costs for the $16 million development. To round out funding for the project, the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership also received low-income housing tax credits from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

Bradbury Stamm is overseeing construction of the four-story, 78,000-square-foot building, which is expected to wrap up by next June, said Felipe Rael, the Housing Partnership’s executive director. Pre-leasing of units will begin in March.

The Sterling will be mostly studios and one-bedroom units with amenities such as a community gathering space, storage options, bike storage and maintenance space, a dog wash station, an Internet cafe and a fitness center.

Monarch Properties Inc. will manage the property, which Rael said would be ideal “for millenials and their grandparents.”

According to the report issued by the county, 90 percent of the apartments will be affordable units, meaning tenants won’t pay more than 30 percent of their incomes in rent.  Another 10 percent will be market rate and 5 percent will be designated for special-needs tenants. “There’s a huge need in our community for affordable housing,” said Rael, whose nonprofit recently opened the CUATRO, a 56-unit apartment project for low-income seniors on North Fourth Street.

Occupancy at most the Housing Partnership’s communities is “typically above 95 percent” and waiting lists for available units are long, Rael said.

The Imperial Building apartment complex, which opened last year at 205 Silver Avenue, added 74 new apartments to the growing mix of housing Downtown. And a private consortium called Silver Avenue Flats LLC plans to redevelop a city-owned vacant lot on the northeast corner of Second Street and Silver Avenue. According to documents filed with the city, initial development costs of the public-private partnership are pegged “in excess of $24 million.”