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UPDATED: UNM Housing Project Approved

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The OK from the regents places the project on track for an August 2011 opening


The proposed apartment-style housing project on the University of New Mexico’s south campus won unanimous approval from regents Tuesday, despite continued opposition to its location.

Regents signed off on a 40-year lease with American Campus Communities, placing the project on track for an August 2011 opening.

University officials like the deal because it will provide much-needed student housing without a UNM investment. Also, the university will receive rent payments for the land.

UNM, for example, is allowed to build any residence hall, so long as it does not contain kitchens in units. It can build new apartment-style housing, but the units must have at least three bedrooms for every bathroom. On main campus, the total number of apartment-style beds can not exceed 35 percent of total beds.

UNM can build apartment-style student housing similar to the south campus project by obtaining a study showing there is sufficient demand and that it will not cut into gross revenues of the south campus project.

The restriction on UNM pursuing residential housing on land along Central from the new architecture building to Girard remains in place. UNM staff and ACC, however, were reworking that clause to make clear it applies only to typical commercial apartments, with the apartments above commercial uses.

The location of the ACC housing project, more than a mile away from the main campus, has drawn much criticism.

Architect Jonathan Siegel called it a “stunningly poor idea” and urged regents to halt it.

ACC, a Texas company, will foot the $42 million bill to build the 864-bed project near the Pit. The company will own, manage and operate the housing, which will feature private bedrooms and bathrooms for upperclassmen. The housing reverts to UNM once the 40-year lease expires.

The lease allows for three 10-year extensions, but Regent Don Chalmers stressed the university has the right to buy the housing from ACC after 10 years.

During the first five years of the lease, ACC will pay UNM between $333,643 and $375,518 a year. Thereafter, UNM will get 5.7 percent of gross revenues a year, with a minimum rent of $350,000, up from the $150,000 contained in a previous draft.

Regent Jamie Koch said UNM can use the ground rent payments from ACC to improve its existing on-campus housing and possibly tackle other housing projects.




Tuesday, 11 May 2010 13:38


University of New Mexico regents voted unanimously this morning to
approve the south campus student housing project, clearing the way for a
groundbreaking next month.

American Campus Communities plans to build a $42 million, 864-bed student housing project near the Pit. ACC will cover the cost of the project. It will own, manage and operate the apartment-style housing, which will feature private bedrooms and bathrooms for upperclassmen.
The 40-year lease agreement regents approved guarantees the university more than $333,000 a year in ground rent. Regent Jamie Koch said the rent can be used to upgrade existing housing on campus.

The agreement still contains non-compete clauses, but they have been narrowed to give the university more freedom on the types of housing projects UNM can pursue on its own in the future. The restriction on UNM pursuing residential housing projects on land between Johnson Field and Central remains in place, unless the university can produce a housing study demonstrating a sufficient demand and so long as the project would not negatively impact occupancy or revenue for ACC campus housing.