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New community caters to cohousing lifestyle

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For people who despair of living in a neighborhood where you drive into your garage, retreat into your backyard and generally don’t know who your neighbors are, a housing project in its early stages in the Vecinos del Bosque area offers a different way to live.

Cohousing ABQ, modeled on Acequia Jardin, which is Albuquerque’s only established cohousing community, is under contract to purchase three acres on Gonzales Road SW, next to the bosque, said Marlies Metodi, one of the initiators of the enterprise. She said families, couples and singles have banded together to create a community with a village-type setting.

Metodi, who grew up in a cohousing development in her native Austria, said the idea is for people to know, interact and look out for their neighbors in a way not typically found anymore in many residential neighborhoods.

“You actually have community,” she said, although she added that the style of living is not for everyone.

“We’re looking for people who like to connect with neighbors, and lots of people have been interested in that.”

Under the cohousing model, residents own their units, and share common facilities that usually include a communal dining area, a guest cottage and a play room for children.

After several informational sessions, Cohousing ABQ now has “19 explorers,” each of whom has each kicked in $300 to offset the expense of creating a website and hiring an engineer for the multi-generational community, which envisions 24 homes on the property. “We’re also working with an engineer who did the Acequia Jardin project,” said Metodi. He’s doing preliminary site due diligence, said Metodi.

Metodi said the development may need a zoning change or special use permit to move forward. Cohousing ABQ representatives will present the concept to the local neighborhood association at an upcoming meeting.

Read more about the project at the www.cohousingABQ.org.

City living

A work crew hoists into place the sign of the newly opened El Vado Place apartments on Central SW. (Steve Sinovic/Albuquerque Journal)

The historic El Vado Motel greeted Route 66 travelers for many decades after first turning on its neon sign in 1937. Another sign recently was hoisted into place along Central SW to mark the opening of the newly built El Vado Place Apartments.

Each building has one accessible live/work unit on the ground level. The other 30 units are two-bedroom, two-bath apartments located on the second and third floors. Residents overlook Route 66 and the nearby ABQ BioPark from their apartments as well as from a large shaded roof deck on the second level. It’s designed in the Pueblo Revival style to complement the historic motel next door.

The apartment complex, which includes both market rate and affordable units, is 100 percent leased, according to a leasing agent.

QA’s new HQ the right fit

QA Engineering’s new corporate headquarters gives the Albuquerque firm plenty of room to grow its business. (Courtesy of NAI Maestas & Ward)

QA Engineering, an Albuquerque engineering and construction firm, has moved into a highly sought-after office/warehouse property, which the firm recently purchased at 1409 Ortiz SE.

Acquiring the new digs also created an expansion opportunity for QA, which has hired five new employees.

The property brought multiple offers from several interested parties, said the commercial real estate broker that helped QA negotiate the winning bid.

“The contemporary design of this building made it the right property for my client. The layout is primarily open office architecture and fit my client’s needs perfectly,” said Shelly Branscom, the NAI Maestas & Ward broker who represented QA. Clay Azar of Metro Commercial Realty was the listing agent.

Sitting on just under half an acre, the 6,800-square-foot building built in 2013 boasts energy-efficient utilities, controlled access, an elaborate security system and modern design finishes.

Steve Sinovic covers commercial and residential real estate for the Journal. He can be reached at ssinovic@abqjournal.com or by calling 505-823-3919.

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