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More Affordable Housing Units Will Be Built at Las Soleras Development

The affordable housing units will be located in the orange section, seen above, next to Ragle Park.
The affordable housing units will be located in the orange section, seen above, next to Ragle Park.

The Housing Trust is working on a new multi-unit (80-90 total) Low Income Housing Tax Credit Project (LIHTC) apartment community to be located within the new Pulte at Las Soleras development on land donated by PulteGroup, Inc. Santa Fe’s City Council voted on September 9th to grant conditional approval to Pulte to build 300 market rate homes at the southern edge of the city, between Cerrillos Road and I-25 (adjacent to the Camino del Monte Sol Charter School and the Nava Ade development).

Pulte’s homes will be priced in the high $200,000 and low $300,000 range, half of which will be targeted at buyers 55 and older. The Housing Trust’s LIHTC project will provide an alternate form of compliance for the community’s inclusionary zoning requirements and will house 20 percent special needs emergent homeless individuals/families and have sliding scale rental costs for additional residents comprised of people with incomes of 30-80 percent Average Median Income (AMI). The complex will consist of one-, two- and three-bedroom units in two- and three-story structures and will be situated next to a park, within walking distance to many local amenities.

Pulte approached The Housing Trust in July of this year to discuss the LIHTC project and to request the Trust’s assistance in obtaining an LIHTC allocation. As a result Pulte will pay for the the pre-development planning for the LIHTC application, to be submitted by Feb. 1st, 2016. The federal government’s LIHTC program was implemented to provide the private market with an incentive to invest in affordable rental housing. Projects must be attractively designed, greenbuilt and highly beneficial for the target low income clientele. In the statewide competition, only those projects that score the highest will receive the federal housing tax credits. Developers then sell these credits to investors to raise capital (equity) for their projects, which reduces the debt the developer would otherwise have to borrow. Because the debt is lower, tax credit properties offer lower, more affordable rents. The Housing Trust has successfully submitted two projects in the LIHTC competitions, resulting in our affordable multifamily housing communities in Santa Fe, the Village Sage (5951 Larson Loop) and Stage Coach Apartments (3360 Cerrillos Road).

The September 9th City Council meeting was widely attended and included speakers from The Housing Trust, the Nava Ade Neighborhood Association, the NM Coalition to End Homelessness, St. Elizabeth Shelter, the La Cienegita Neighborhood Association and the Neighborhood Network and other affordable housing advocates—all speaking positively about the project and most discussing Santa Fe’s great need for additional affordable housing communities such as the one proposed for this location. Several hours of questioning raised areas of concern for the councilors including the need for active, maintained park space and play fields for sports; a location for a neighborhood school; and removal of the planned gate for the 55+ section of the community. The conditional approval included clauses ensuring 20 acres of parks, a 10-acre site for a school and the removal of the gate.

The proposed trail network at the development
The proposed trail network at the development

On September 22, The Housing Trust held a focus group at the Village Sage Apartments to obtain input from local nonprofit service providers and property management staff for the new project. Participants included representatives from The Housing Trust; the project’s architectural firms, Dekker Perich Sabatini Architects and Solange Serquis (landscape architect); the Affordable Housing Division of the City of Santa Fe; Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority; Presbyterian Medical Services; Monarch Properties; and Life Link. The group discussed potential tenant needs and the desire to incorporate these into the project design. This included well-lit, staggered front entrances, bike racks and trails, fenced in back yards, balconies on second floor units, outside play areas, arranging with SF Trails to have a new bus stop location and enhanced pedestrian access to the new regional park planned for the community.

The project will participate in the national pilot program and could be the first WELL BUILD multifamily complex to be so certified. Design features include both the WELL Build Standard, LEED Green Building Rating System, and other leading global sustainable building programs. WELL Build enables green building practitioners to integrate residents’ health and wellbeing with sustainability, creating buildings that optimize occupant as well as environmental impacts. The location will also have an on-site social services coordinator who will help tenants gain access to free social services such as healthcare and continuing education, kids’ summer camps, raised bed kitchen gardens, credit counseling, and homeownership classes ensuring that their needs are being met and to guide them on the path to comfortable, healthy living and opportunities for self improvement.

“Existing affordable housing rentals in Santa Fe are almost always 100 percent occupied—the only time they’re not is in the brief interim between when someone moves out and someone from the waiting list moves in,” said Housing Trust executive director Sharron Welsh. “We always have waiting lists for our communities, sometimes with as many as 200 people for a development with 60 units. The need for additional affordable rentals serving lower income tenants in Santa Fe is staggering.”

For more information about the upcoming project or the Village Sage and Stage Coach Apartments, contact The Housing Trust at 505-989-3960.