The city of Las Vegas Housing Authority is partnering with a Santa Fe non-profit organization on a project to build 60 affordable housing units across from the Mills Plaza Shopping Center.
The construction of the Macario Gonzales Apartments hinges on whether Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority can secure low income housing tax credits from the state Mortgage Finance Authority through a competitive process. If Santa Fe Civic secures the tax credits, it would use them to attract an investor to finance the bulk of the project.
Ed Romero, with Santa Fe Civic, told the City Council last week that his goal it to make it the nicest apartment complex in Las Vegas.
As currently envisioned, 20 of the apartments would be three-bedroom units with the other 40 being two-bedroom units.
The complex would consist of two-story buildings, each with balconies on the second floor and patios on the first floor. The buildings would have metal roofs, stucco finishes and dormers.
Members of Santa Fe Civic’s development team told the Council that the complex would include play areas, barbecue areas and a clubhouse. They also said they would strive for a LEED silver certification for the project by including such features as solar panels, a hot water recirculation system that would reduce the wasting of water and by using drought-tolerant plants in its landscaping.
The apartment complex would help address a need identified in the city’s housing study.
The city’s primary contribution to the project would be the nearly six-acre parcel of
land that the apartments will sit on. The city plans to lease the land to Santa Fe Civic for 99 years for $1 a year.
The lease becomes null and void if Santa Fe Civic fails to secure the tax credits.
“I’m comfortable we have a fighting chance of moving this project forward and getting the credits,” Romero said.
The city also plans to apply for New Mexico Affordable Housing Tax Credits. If it is successful, it is committing to donate the proceeds from those tax credits into the project.
The city’s housing authority board and the City Council are slated to take action on the lease agreement tonight (Jan. 16).
Under the terms of that lease agreement, Santa Fe Civic is required to keep the apartments in good condition. If Santa Fe Civic satisfies its obligations to the city on the first phase of the project, it will have first option to continue the development of the Macario Gonzales Housing Authority property.
In outlining the project to the council, Romero said the investor would likely pump about $10 million into the project and have a 99 percent ownership interest in the project, with Santa Fe Civic having the remaining 1 percent ownership interest.
At year 15, however, the city and housing authority would have the option to buy the apartment complex. He said Santa Fe Civic wants as little debt as possible on the property so that when the city has to decide whether to buy the complex, the cost will be as low as possible.
Romero said investors generally want to be involved in the project only as long as they are getting the tax credits.
He said Santa Fe Civic would also be responsible for ensuring that the apartments were being rented to low-income individuals.
Santa Fe Civic is investing about $60,000 in trying to get the project off the ground, which includes securing of the tax credits. Romero told the Council he hoped that if his organization isn’t successful this year that it would have the opportunity to try again for the tax credits in 2014.