What a difference four years makes.
When the housing bubble burst and lot sales dried up, the Mariposa community in Rio Rancho became a money trap for the previous developer, High Desert Investment, which put a halt to the project in 2012 because of the recession and litigation.
Eligible individuals and families who owned property in the Mariposa master-planned community settled a class-action lawsuit against High Desert Investment and Albuquerque Academy for $5 million.
Enter Harvard Investments, a Scottsdale-based real estate investment and development firm, which took over the 1,600-acre project with plans to turn the distressed community around. Harvard brought six homebuilders on board and launched a new marketing campaign.
Helping pique interest was the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes when its builders were honored with nine awards.
The sales pace so far this year has been pretty decent, with 45 homes sold.
Summer, the prime homebuilding season, is expected to be active, according to the homebuilders.
“We were happy at the beginning of the year when home sales started strong,” said Brian McCarthy, owner of Abrazo Homes.
Approximately 180 homes have been built in Mariposa to date. Once built out, the community could have 2,500 homes.
In terms of the bigger picture, DataTraq reports that local homebuilders pulled 123 home construction permits in April, 44 percent of which were for homes in Rio Rancho. The 123 permits was a slight decrease from March, when there were 125 permits, and also down from April of last year, with 147 permits issued.
Aperture owner inks architect
SC3 International, the Denver company that has a stake in the WisePies pizza chain and other Albuquerque companies, has landed a significant tenant at the nearly 80,000-square-foot Aperture Center building at Mesa del Sol.
W. Paul Waters + Associates will lease 15,000 square feet of space – a full floor – of the three-story, Class A office building.
“We are pleased to have W. Paul Waters + Associates locate their offices to our newest acquisition, the Aperture Center,” said SC3 CEO Steve Chavez, whose firm purchased the building in February for an undisclosed price. “Having an on-site company that specializes in architecture and economic development will support our future development plans at Mesa Del Sol.”
With over 35 years of national design and management experience, W. Paul Waters + Associates specializes in government, community and commercial design and development projects, such as the recently remodeled upper terminal of the Sandia Peak tram. “We create teams that respond to the project requirements, helping our clients achieve their goals. The Aperture Center is an architecturally significant building that is perfect for a design firm like ours,” said company principal W. Paul Waters. “As a native New Mexican, it’s exciting to be part of a development that has so many opportunities for growth and significant projects.”
Chavez forecasted that the building would have 100 percent occupancy within five months of buying the facility.
Communities receive $47M for affordable housing
Tax-credit awards totaling $47.3 million by have been made to five affordable housing projects in five New Mexico communities, according to the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.
Low-income housing tax credits, a federal incentive for developers to create housing for families with low to moderate incomes, are subsidies available for affordable housing construction and rehabilitation.
The 2016 tax credits will be allocated over the next 10 years, says the MFA. A total of 367 rental homes will be constructed or rehabilitated and reserved for low-income households in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Carlsbad and Pueblo of Acoma.
In Albuquerque, the Rio Vista apartments will see the rehabilitation of an outdated 75-unit affordable housing property that houses low-income seniors and individuals with special needs. Comprised entirely of one-bedroom units, the property is within walking distance of retail stores and other amenities. The total tax-credit award of $9.84 million was awarded to the developer, Wishrock Investment Group.
Tax credit recipients are selected in a competitive process based on 24 scoring criteria that include affordability, design, energy efficiency, and availability of support and social services for residents. Units must be set aside for households with incomes at or below 60 percent of area median income. Applications were received for 17 projects located in 11 New Mexico communities in this year’s round.