RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A 240-unit affordable housing community is moving into Rio Rancho along US 550, according to a presentation at the Sandoval County Commission meeting May 21.
Eric and Walter “Skip” Grodahl from DBG Properties LLC presented the project, 550 Paseo Apartments.
They are affordable housing developers who have done six similar projects in New Mexico, Walter Grodahl said. They plan to make 550 Paseo Apartments qualify under affordable housing guidelines.
This presentation informed commissioners of a future decision about the county serving as a conduit for financing, pursuant to IRS requirements. Private activity bonds are also known as conduit bonds, according to the presentation. The bonds are tax-exempt and issued by a local or state government to provide financing for qualified projects.
In this case, DBG Properties is requesting $30 million in private-activity bonds from Sandoval County for the facility construction. The apartment complex would be located along US 550, next to Enchanted Vista Apartments, another affordable housing complex.
Commissioner Katherine Bruch, District 1, said the commission was still reviewing the information.
“My thinking generally, philosophically, and I am happy to share that, is I really don’t like low-income properties to be in one specific area,” she said.
Bruch said she prefers to see complexes like 550 Paseo and Enchanted Vista Apartments spread around the area.
“Lower-cost housing is always a benefit to our residents, but we are in an interesting economic situation where we may have a significant amount of properties coming available because of the economic challenge we are in with COVID-19,” she said.
Commissioner Michael Meek, District 3, expressed concerns over whether traffic flow near US 550 could be managed.
“Other than that, though, I think it is a good opportunity,” he said.
He added that as long as demand for policing, education, mail, utilities and other public resources could be met, the project would be a great opportunity.
Since the meeting, county financial advisor Rob Burpo released a comprehensive spreadsheet about the project.
In the spreadsheet, Burpo predicts annual gross receipts tax revenue of $22,500 for the county and $23,625 for the City of Rio Rancho. These figures do not include GRT revenues from utility bills and other monthly or annual expenditures the apartments would be taxed on, according to the report.
“The county, the City of Rio Rancho and Town of Bernalillo will benefit from one-time revenues during the construction phase of the project. Materials, labor, equipment rentals, land prep work, etc., will all contribute to the local economies,” according to the report.
The report states the project intends to use local vendors.
Because major employers in Rio Rancho, such as Safelite and Convergys call centers, are less than 6 miles away, the project should reduce traffic along US 550, according to the report.
“The apartment complex creates the opportunity for employees to live closer to their work and shorten associated travel distances,” it said.
There is also a bus stop a quarter of a mile from the site for residents to use public transit.
Project developers will pay for any New Mexico Department of Transportation studies or updates to current studies, according to the report. When studies are released, they will be sent to local governments.
Burpo predicts the project should have a low impact on fire, police and sheriff services due to strong on-site management.
“Costs for any additional impact on the departments would be earned from the new tax receipts from residents purchasing in the county and not down in Albuquerque,” said the report.
The impact should be low on schools also, according to the report.
With a mix of senior residents occupying one- and two-bedroom apartments and a majority of the complex being one-bedroom apartments, there will be a limited number of two- and three-bedroom apartments that families typically occupy, according to the report.
The target market for 550 Paseo Apartments is families or individuals who make between $14 and $20 per hour. The income limit is $29,040 a year for a household of one, $33,180 for a family of two, up to $44,820 for a family of five.
Meek said the commission is in the preliminary stages of considering the options this project presents. He said a decision about the project won’t be made immediately and the public would have a chance to voice their opinion.