The city of Santa Fe has selected Habitat for Humanity and B.Public Prefab to develop five affordable homes in the downtown historic district.

The homes will be built on a quarter-acre vacant lot at 635 Alto Street the city plans to donate and will be designed to complement the existing look and feel of the neighborhood.

The development plans began more than 10 years ago, but, after receiving a preliminary approval from the City Council in 2010 and the Historic Districts Review Board in 2011, the project stalled and a City Council measure supporting the development expired.

On Sept. 17, the city’s Community Development Commission rekindled its efforts with a Request for Qualifications seeking a developer. The commission, chaired by City Councilor Renee Villarreal, received four responses. Habitat for Humanity and B.Public Prefab won the highest score for their proposal.

The affordable homes will be one to two stories high and conjoined, similar to surrounding homes along Alto Street. The five homes will have an overall footprint of around 7,000 square feet, with each offering around 1,200 to 1,500 square-feet. The homes will feature a stucco exterior and flat roof, as dictated by the Historic Districts Review Board.

Kurt Krahn, executive director of Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity, estimated the homes will each cost around $185,000 to build, according to a city news release.

Habitat for Humanity employs a unique development model that invites future homeowners to defray construction costs by contributing to the home-build through “sweat equity.”

The city’s RFQ required the affordable homes to be offered at between $270,000 and $300,000, which is consistent with how the city defines a low-priced dwelling unit.

“[Habitat’s] prices are quite a bit lower than what was required by the RFQ,” said Alexandra Ladd, director of the city’s Office of Affordable Housing. “It certainly helped the Community Development Commission pick their project.”

(1) comment

Emily Koyama

Historic Districts Review Board should not require flat roofs, especially on "affordable" homes being built within the historic district. There are plenty of old pitched roof homes in the downtown.

These homes will need more roof maintenance, and new roofs every 15 to 20 years....that's not "affordable" for the owners.

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