Project that would bring 207 apartments to Downtown Albuquerque clears hurdle - Albuquerque Journal

Project that would bring 207 apartments to Downtown Albuquerque clears hurdle

The Downtowner, a mixed-use space that will include more than 200 housing units and a café, had its disposition and development agreement approved by city council on Monday. (Courtesy of Rembe Urban Design + Development and Mullen Heller Architecture)

A $50 million public-private project slated for Downtown that will bring more than 200 housing units to the area cleared a major hurdle earlier this week.

The Albuquerque City Council on Monday approved an agreement that includes a timeline and performance benchmarks for the Downtowner, a mixed-use project at First Street and Silver Avenue that has been years in the works.

The project – currently 207 rental units, 11 live/work units and a café – only needs to get one more approval before construction begins, which is planned for early next year.

“In the midst of a housing crisis, we are grateful for redevelopment projects like the Downtowner that increase the number of housing units while also contributing to a vibrant downtown district,” Terry Brunner, the director of the city’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency, said in a statement. “Increasing street-level activity downtown will ultimately create a safer, more walkable neighborhood.”

The city will provide the land, a $1.8 million gap financing grant and a tax abatement valued at roughly $1.5 million over seven years for the project.

The Albuquerque Development Commission recommended the agreement and tax abatement in November. The tax abatement application still needs council approval.

The Downtowner, a multistory development expected to span 131,700 square feet, is one of a handful of supported projects by the MRA, which includes the Palladium Townhomes, the Villa Agave redevelopment project and the Imperial Inn, said MRA spokeswoman Sarah Allen.

A 2021 project summary shows the budget for the Downtowner was $30.1 million. But Allen said the budget for the project has gone up, now standing at roughly $49 million to $50 million.

Jay Rembe, CEO of Albuquerque-based Rembe Urban Design + Development, the lead developer on the project, told the Journal some of that has to do with inflationary pressures – including rising costs related to labor and supplies.

He said the project – which is a partnership between his firm, Insight Construction and Mullen Heller Architecture – is expected to break ground early next year.

“Our goal is to help our city be better,” Rembe said. “Every great city needs to have a great downtown. … housing is key to that.”


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