Com­mis­sion OKs 139-unit Capi­tol Flats near Rai­l­yard

Com­plex with lim­ited park­ing aimed at those who don’t rely on car to get around

Santa Fe New Mexican - - FRONT PAGE - By Andy Stiny [email protected]­i­can.com

A four-story, 139-unit apart­ment com­plex planned on Pen Road north of Cor­dova Road is the lat­est en­try into the ren­tal mar­ket for hous­ing-strapped Santa Fe.

With a lo­ca­tion be­tween the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard and the South Capi­tol Com­plex, near a ma­jor tran­sit hub, the Rail Trail, gro­cery and other stores, the project is aimed in part at ac­com­mo­dat­ing ten­ants who don’t own or de­pend on an au­to­mo­bile.

The city Plan­ning Com­mis­sion last month gave fi­nal de­vel­op­ment plan ap­proval for what is be­ing called Capi­tol Flats Apart­ments.

As was the case with a 240-unit apart­ment de­vel­op­ment on the city’s south side that the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion ap­proved in Oc­to­ber, the Capi­tol Flats com­plex will not in­clude any units des­ig­nated as af­ford­able hous­ing un­der city guide­lines. De­vel­oper Peter Aberg of Moka LLC opted to pay a $134,946 fee to the city’s Af­ford­able Hous­ing Trust rather than set aside 15 per­cent of the new con­struc­tion for ten­ants earn­ing be­low the area’s me­dian in­come.

That op­tion, which is al­lowed un­der a 2-year-old city or­di­nance that is due to sun­set in 2019, was also cred­ited by the de­vel­oper of the 188-unit Broad­stone Rodeo com­plex with mak­ing it pos­si­ble to break ground in June on that project on Rodeo Road.

Af­ford­able Hous­ing Trust funds are used to sub­si­dize rent pay­ments for qual­i­fied ten­ants.

An agent for Aberg, who also de­vel­oped the Rai­l­yard Flats apart­ments fur­ther north, told the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion that monthly rents in the new com­plex will range from $950 to $1,800.

Plans show Capi­tol Flats will in­clude 20 stu­dio apart­ments, 90 one-bed­room units and 29 two-bed­room apart­ments.

At a Nov. 1 hear­ing, Santa Fe res­i­dent Rick Martinez men­tioned the lack of af­ford­able units in the com­plex and said he wanted the record to show there was op­po­si­tion to the project be­cause pay­ing fees into a fund that can be used for off-site hous­ing ef­forts doesn’t make Santa Fe an in­clu­sive city.

Jen­nifer Jenk­ins of Jenk­in­sGavin Inc., rep­re­sent­ing Aberg, said progress to solve the city’s hous­ing short­age would stop with­out the feein-lieu pro­vi­sion be­cause with­out it ar­rang­ing fi­nanc­ing is prob­lem­atic.

Start­ing around 2005, Santa Fe for about a decade had next to no mul­ti­fam­ily de­vel­op­ment, Alexan­dra Ladd, hous­ing spe­cial projects man­ager for the city, has said.

Fi­nanc­ing can be an is­sue on mul­ti­fam­ily com­plexes be­cause in­vest­ment de­ci­sions are based on “if the op­er­at­ing bud­get will make money ev­ery year.”

Ladd, who said the Oc­to­ber ap­proval of the 240-unit Turquesa Apart­ments com­plex just south of Santa Fe Place mall was a small ad­vance in the lo­cal hous­ing sit­u­a­tion, ex­plained that “the fee is eas­ier for the de­vel­oper be­cause they can fi­nance it as a de­vel­op­ment cost up front.”

CBRE Group Inc., a com­mer­cial real es­tate firm with an Al­bu­querque of­fice, does mar­ket sur­veys in Santa Fe and Al­bu­querque in Jan­uary, May and Oc­to­ber.

The lat­est fig­ures showed Santa Fe had an oc­cu­pancy rate of 98.13 per­cent, with the av­er­age apart­ment rent­ing for $1,011 a month, or $1.25 a square foot.

Billy Ea­gle, CBRE’s first vice pres­i­dent, said Fri­day that those num­bers have re­mained fairly con­stant. “Prop­er­ties in Santa Fe are pretty much full,” he said.

The com­mis­sion granted a waiver from park­ing re­quire­ments for a de­vel­op­ment the size of Capi­tol Flats, al­low­ing a vari­ance of 17 spa­ces, or 9 per­cent, from the re­quired 182, city doc­u­ments show. The com­mis­sion also ap­proved a mo­tion that con­sol­i­dates four lots into one. The apart­ments will oc­cupy 133,392 square feet on 2.348 acres.

Records show Aberg asked the com­mis­sion to con­sider the big pic­ture, say­ing the park­ing sit­u­a­tion fits the city’s tran­sit-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment stan­dards be­cause of the project’s cen­tral lo­ca­tion with walk­a­bil­ity and ac­cess to var­ied modes of trans­porta­tion.

Aberg told the com­mis­sion that stud­ies showed many ten­ants of Rai­l­yard Flats, lo­cated near the cen­ter of the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard, do not own cars.

In ad­di­tion to prox­im­ity to the Rail Trail for pedes­trian and bi­cy­cle traf­fic, the new apart­ments will be close to the Rail­run­ner com­muter train’s South Capi­tol Sta­tion, which in­cludes board­ing ar­eas for city buses and North Cen­tral Re­gional Tran­sit Dis­trict buses.

Com­mon spa­ces in­clude a ground­floor court­yard, a fourth-floor rooftop deck, as well as a cowork lounge, fit­ness cen­ter and in­te­rior bi­cy­cle stor­age.

The de­sign calls for ve­hic­u­lar ac­cess off both Cor­dova and Pen Roads and pedes­trian ac­cess with one gate at Cor­dova Road and two gates on Pen Road.

The land­scap­ing plan in­cludes ev­er­green and de­cid­u­ous trees, shrubs and grasses, and the ap­pli­cant has iden­ti­fied ex­ist­ing trees that would be pre­served or pro­tected. Trees and shrubs will be used as a buf­fer that bor­ders the north and east sides of the British Mo­tors shop that oc­cu­pies the north­east cor­ner of the in­ter­sec­tion of Cor­dova and Pen.

Plan­ning Com­mis­sion mem­ber Mark Ho­gan cast the sole dis­sent­ing vote, ob­ject­ing that the project was not com­pat­i­ble in size and scale to nearby build­ings.

On the mo­tion to ease park­ing re­quire­ments, com­mis­sion mem­ber Stephen Hochberg was the lone dis­senter.

The com­mis­sion adopted its for­mal find­ings of facts and con­clu­sions of law reard­ing the project on Thurs­day night, which clears the way for plat record­ing and is­suance of build­ing per­mits, said Noah Berke, plan­ner man­ager with the city plan­ning de­part­ment.

THE NEW MEX­I­CAN

Planned four-story apart­ment com­plex SOURCE: CITY OF SANTA FE, GOOGLE MAPS

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