Commission OKs 139-unit Capitol Flats near Railyard
Complex with limited parking aimed at those who don’t rely on car to get around
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.
Planned four-story apartment complex SOURCE: CITY OF SANTA FE, GOOGLE MAPS