An Albuquerque-based developer broke ground Wednesday on a 188-unit apartment complex on Rodeo Road, the first of its kind in decades, according to company representatives.
Broadstone Rodeo, a $34 million project by Titan Development on about 9 acres east of the Santa Fe Rail Trail, is expected to start leasing by fall 2019 and be complete early the following year. Rents will reflect the market; the one- and two-bedroom units may rent for as much as $1,300 monthly, said Kurt Browning, Titan’s chief development officer.
The units will range from 800 square feet to 1,100 square feet, with a fitness center, small park, clubhouse, pool and other amenities, said Josh Rogers, director of multifamily projects for Titan. Broadstone Rodeo has been in the works for two years, he said.
Rogers attributed the project’s feasibility to a change in city law that allowed developers to pay a fee in lieu of setting aside 15 percent of new construction for tenants earning below the area’s median income.
The law, especially when applied to rental units, stymied construction by adding to construction costs, said Alexandra Ladd, director of the city’s Affordable Housing Office.
The City Council amended the housing ordinance two years ago to allow the fee instead of offering below-market housing units. In the case of Broadstone Rodeo, about $240,000 will go into an Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
“Without that legislation, this project would not have happened,” Rogers said at the groundbreaking Wednesday morning. “And that’s the reality of that housing ordinance — it’s allowing multifamily to happen in Santa Fe again.”
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund subsidizes rent payments for qualified tenants, Ladd said.
The fee option expires in 20 months, she added.
Developers had trouble making apartment complexes pencil out with the added requirement to provide the lower-rent units, Ladd said. By contrast, she said, builders of owner-occupied housing, facing a 20 percent requirement, had options to spread, subsidize or stretch their building costs. Enacting the fee option allows multifamily builders to meet their costs.
“We needed to do this if we wanted a project like this to happen,” Ladd said.
The 188 units are a start in addressing the housing shortage in Santa Fe, City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler said.
“We have a lot of people out in our city looking for a place to live,” she said at the groundbreaking event. “This is not going to make a huge dent in what we need, but it sure helps where we need to go. We hope it will provide a little competition in rents.”
City Councilor Mike Harris, who, like Vigil Coppler, represents the south-side District 4, also spoke at the groundbreaking.
“One thing I’ve been saying is that yes, we’ve got a real need — some would characterize it as a crisis — for certainly affordable housing, but to my way of thinking, housing across the spectrum,” Harris said. “We really need a much more dynamic market.”
At an unrelated event Wednesday, Mayor Alan Webber said the number of needed housing units in the city ranges from 4,000 to 5,000. He told a lunchtime meeting of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association that 53 percent of people who work in the city live outside its limits.
Employers in Santa Fe, such as Presbyterian Healthcare Services, which is building a medical center on the city’s south side, have been citing a lack of rental housing for new hires.
The Broadstone is one of several multifamily projects underway in Santa Fe. As of December, projects with a total of about 1,700 units were somewhere between preapplication meetings with city staff to approval but still waiting for building permits, according to information from the city Land Use Department.
Rogers described the Broadstone as “Class A” multifamily housing, the first of its kind in Santa Fe since “probably 1993.”
Class A in real estate terms describes a fairly new, luxury-style project with certain amenities and market rates. Rogers described the amenities not as luxury but as “resort style.” The Broadstone is targeting millennials looking for a place to live but not ready for homeownership and baby boomers downsizing from larger homes.
Another recent apartment project, Railyard Flats, started leasing its 58 units in March, but that project, in the Santa Fe Railyard, does not have the same amenities, such as a clubhouse and pool, as the Broadstone plan.