DP Road apartment complex gets green light

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By Bennett Horne

Los Alamos is one step closer to the realization of a 70-unit, affordable housing apartment complex on the west end of DP Road.

In June the project’s developer, Bethel Development, Inc., based in Dublin, Ohio, was told the Mortgage Finance Authority of New Mexico had approved its application for low-income housing tax credits.

“That is probably the only major federal program that actually provides capitol money towards affordable housing projects,” said Los Alamos County Community Development Director Paul Andrus. “It’s a competitive process and is administered through the state. They award those to projects that are either new construction or acquisition and rehabilitation.”

Andrus said Bethel put in “a tremendous application,” which ended up being the top-rated application in the state for new construction.

This essentially means, Andrus said, that planning for the project can begin.

“We’ll be keeping track of that in terms of anticipating at such time under our development agreement with them to donate that property to the project,” he said. “That’s the county’s contribution. Under our donation ordinance for affordable housing that’s basically our one major thing that we can do as a county to make affordable housing happen.”

Before the county donates the property to Bethel, the development company will work on design and transfer issues, which should be completed by November. Then, once the property is officially in Bethel’s possession, the company will have to finish construction and have the units rented by January of 2020.

“That’s exciting,” said Andrus. “It’s going to be 70 new units of rental with affordable, competitive rents and one-, two- and three-bedroom units.”

The complex, which is being called Canyon Walk Apartments, will consist of four buildings on four acres between Los Alamos Fire Station No. 2 and Canyon Rim Trail on the north side of DP Road.

“From what I’ve seen it will be situated back from the trail giving (the complex) a community space for the tenants,” Andrus said. “They will have direct access to enjoy the trail, will be close to Smith’s and downtown where all the services – and essentially the jobs – are and there’s a transit stop there, too, so they can get on that circulator and get to where they want to go.”

The renter income mix, which is subject to change, will be between 40 and 60 percent of the area’s median income with an affordability period of 35 years.

Andrus said the project would address several goals set forth by the county council. One is to promote the creation of a variety of housing options for all segments of the Los Alamos community as well as producing a development that is located downtown, near employment and retail establishments as well as being close to public transportation.

It could also serve as a catalyst for future development on DP Road.

According to its website, Bethel Development has concentrated its efforts predominantly in the development of affordable housing and, to date, has developed 29 affordable housing projects totaling 2,013 units.

Bethel has developed projects in Ohio, Arizona and New Mexico.

Qualcon Builders, LLC, a subsidiary of Bethel Development, Inc., is the general contractor and is licensed in New Mexico, Arizona and Ohio.