Development rises in Taos

A rendering of a residence proposed for the La Isla de Taos development. Courtesy image

TAOS — The largest residential development in Taos County since the Great Recession has broken ground at the corner between Millicent Rogers and Upper Ranchitos roads.

La Isla de Taos is planned for 15 one-level, free-standing single-homes on a 9.8-acre parcel of a 21-acre property. Though it is a small development in terms of units, it’s a sign that housing construction is returning to Taos County since the Great Recession of 2008.

“These kinds of requests have slowed down because of the market,” said Rudy Perea, the Taos County planner.

“It’s really filling a need because inventory is so low,” said Lisa Davis, who is the Berkshire Hathaway broker in charge of selling La Isla de Taos’ new properties. “We’re trying to keep the houses affordable at a good price.”

La Isla de Taos offers three models — a 1,759-square-foot design with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a one-car garage; another 1,759-square-foot design with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage; and a 2,000-square-foot model with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. The listed prices for the three models are $425,000, $450,000 and $475,000, respectively.

“They’re good value because they’ll be new,” Davis said, explaining that the housing prices were right in line with the general market trends in Taos that she’s observed over the years. Davis said she expected a mix of full- and part-time residents, including renters.

Just outside the town of Taos limits, the development also borders the Rio Lucero, a tributary of the Rio Pueblo de Taos. Developers broke ground on the project July 13 and five lots are currently ready for sale; two are already in the process of being sold. The next 10 lots should be available in 2018. For the most part, houses will be built as they are sold.

Taos Style Builders will perform most of the construction. The Lamy, N.M.-based firm has been working on residential and commercial buildings in the region for around 15 years. In the past, Taos Style Builders has been a part of the Millicent Rogers Museum’s renovation about six years ago and was one of the contractors that worked on Mondo Italiano’s new location near Wal-Mart on Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Though it is not Taos Style Builders’ first subdivision project, it is the firm’s first subdivision in Taos.

“We’ve been planning [La Isla de Taos] for about eight years,” Art Mares of Taos Style Builders said. The property was first acquired by a development company run by Mares’ cousin, Ben Mares, in 2008, but the market crash caused it to delay the project until now.

“It’s the development that’s the hardest part,” Mares added, explaining that the paperwork necessary for building a subdivision takes much longer than it actually takes to build.

The houses will be built in a “modern” Pueblo style and include kiva fireplaces, radiant floor heat and high ceilings.

“They have a warm and contemporary edge to them,” Davis said.

Mares characterized the architectural style of the project much like the “Pueblo Revival” style that dominates most of Taos, but with square beams instead of round vigas, squared-off edges and Shaker-style cabinets.

“When you have vigas, they have to be vacuumed,” Davis added, explaining that the homes were specifically designed for the ease of use of its residents.

Additionally, the houses will frame a central meadow area that will serve as a private park for residents. Future residents will also have access to a streamside walking path along the site’s 4.5-acre bosque, a small forested area around the Rio Lucero.

“That’s community for the whole site,” Mares said, describing the intent behind the planned park.

The Taos News is a sister publication of The New Mexican.

Correction, Sept. 6, 2017

Correction: This story has been amended to reflect the following correction: An earlier version incorrectly reported that the La Isla de Taos development in Taos would consist of condominium homes. The homes will be single-family dwellings.

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