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Lovelace’s Independence Square opens today

sinovic_steve_BizOWhen Lovelace Medical Group’s Independence Square clinic opens for business today, employees and patients will see a new facility that could be a template for future construction. According to Dekker Perich Sabatini, the firm that provided the architectural design, the new building at 6701 Jefferson NE incorporates eco-friendly approaches, with a focus on sustainability and sensitivity to the environment.

The two-story, 43,200-square-foot clinic uses natural daylight and scenic views to enhance comfort and to cut down on the need for electricity. The building has 320 roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, which can produce up to 100 kilowatts per hour of power for the building, with screens set up in two public areas that will monitor electrical usage. The lighting design includes LED fixtures and occupancy sensors that will turn off lights when rooms are not in use. Low E-glass throughout the building controls radiant heat, keeping cooling costs low. The mechanical system includes an energy recovery water source heat pump system that helps control air temperature in the building and reduces the need for water heating.

Lots of light and mountain views enhance the patient experience at the newly built Lovelace Medical Group clinic at Jefferson and Osuna.  (Courtesy: Lovelace Health System)

Lots of light and mountain views enhance the patient experience at the newly built Lovelace Medical Group clinic at Jefferson and Osuna. (Courtesy: Lovelace Health System)

Water usage was a large consideration of the building’s design, and the Southwestern landscaping outside uses a drip system and timer to keep usage low. The site’s water will drain to the “first flush” detention pond, which helps clean the water before it enters the city’s arroyo system. Low-flow fixtures and water bottle filling stations are other features.

The building is accessible by public transportation and bicycle trails, with 16 bike spaces provided. The space is handicapped-accessible, including the building and amenities, with 14 handicapped parking spaces. As with all Lovelace facilities, the campus is tobacco free.

The design includes carpeting that is made of 42 percent pre-consumer recycled products. The vinyl flooring is also Floor Score Certified and Green Label Plus Certified, with low volatile organic compound emissions. The paint and casework are also low-VOC emission.

Built at a cost of $30 million by developer Argus Investment Realty, the Independence Square facility positions the group for growth with 100 exam rooms and space to accommodate up to 40 providers. The providers and nearly 100 staff members who previously were at the Northside clinic at 6100 Pan American Fwy NE have moved to the new Independence Square facility, including the Diabetes and Metabolism Care Clinic, endocrinology, family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics and podiatry.

Dan Newman, Debbie Dupes and Chris Valocchi of real estate firm CBRE were representative realtors on the project. Development was done by Jeff Jesionowski of Aim Management and Scott Throckmorton of Argus Investment Realty. Construction was by general contractor HB Construction. Lillibridge Healthcare Services, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Ventas, the parent company) provided planning, design and construction advisory services to the Lovelace Health System team.

New directions for AHA

The Albuquerque Housing Authority is looking to break some new ground – literally.

Now holding the deeds for 951 units recently transferred by the city, the AHA is looking to tap various funding sources to give a major facelift to some of its older housing stock, do some minor remodeling and perhaps build new homes to keep up with demand for affordable housing from low-income working families, the elderly, single parents going back to school and the disabled.

“We’re looking at a mix of strategies as we move forward in managing our assets,” said Linda Bridge, executive director. “We’re re-evaluating our portfolio, which means deciding which (properties) are most worth investing in.”

Even the newest housing is now more than 20 years old. The result is an aging portfolio with large and escalating capital needs, said Bridge.

While still a government agency, the AHA can function more like a developer, using public homes as collateral to borrow money in the private sector. That would raise cash to rehab aging homes and apartment buildings, fund water-saving efforts and install energy-efficient lighting, new furnaces and hot-water heaters.

Bridge said the board of directors has a housing development plan to increase the number of high-quality, affordable units.

That could mean some land sales to fund expansion of the current housing stock by 100 to 150 units over the next 10 years, she said.

Another goal is to do more outreach to educate property owners about Section 8 tenants and to help dispel some of the stereotypes. The authority is considering some financial incentives to increase the landlord pool in the Albuquerque area.

Under the requirements of the program, housing voucher families must pay 30 percent of their monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities.

Steve Sinovic is the real estate reporter for the Journal. He can be reached at Or call 505-823-3919.


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