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City Proposes More Housing for Albuquerque Workforce

Six-story ‘Downtowner’ to fill critical market housing gap and boost area vibrancy

The City of Albuquerque’s work to increase available housing stock advanced yesterday, moving 191 downtown apartment units closer to groundbreaking. ‘The Downtowner,’ a six-story residential project intended to fill a critical gap for workforce housing secured the recommendation of the Albuquerque Development Commission. 

The proposed $30 million infill project, a public-private partnership between the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) and REMBE Urban Design and Development, will be located at the southwest corner of First Street and Silver Avenue. It will include 191 apartments averaging 400-500 square feet, nine live/work units, a café/retail space, as well as capacity to host events. The building footprint, in the shape of a capital E, would have two courtyards above street level. Sixty parking spaces and 200 bicycle spaces would be provided, catering to a target market that will take advantage of neighboring transit options. 

“Housing designed to meet the needs of our local workforce is a proven strategy to attract businesses and their employees to downtowns,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The Downtowner isn’t just adding 191 units of great housing downtown, it’s creating new spaces and foot traffic for businesses, and will contribute to public safety as we bring more activity to the area. This is just one part of our effort to make sure people at all income levels can find safe and healthy homes.”

REMBE Urban Design and Development will own and manage the project. The local firm was the only respondent to a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the MRA July 2020. The RFP sought proposals to redevelop the City-owned 0.8-acre site into a high-density residential or mixed-use project. The City is contributing the land and negotiating additional investment. The project includes a 19 percent equity contribution from the development team.

“This unique project checks multiple boxes on MRA’s list of goals for sustainable and catalytic downtown revitalization,” said MRA manager Karen Iverson. “It increases housing density, adds market-rate units to the residential mix, encourages economic development, and creates new spaces for activities and events.”

REMBE Urban Design and Development has managed more than $80 million in infill projects in Albuquerque, including the Brick Light District in Nob Hill, the Country Club Plaza/The Franz Luxury Apartments in West Downtown, and the Residences at Anasazi in the heart of downtown.