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City breaks ground on housing for low-income families, seniors


The city of Las Cruces broke ground on two affordable housing projects in March and February.

The projects – one located at El Paseo Road and Farney Lane and the other at 130 N. Walnut Street – are part of Las Cruces' efforts to alleviate an affordable housing crisis that prevents residents from finding affordable places to rent or buy a home for the first time and causes people to become homeless.

The city broke ground on the N. Walnut project in February. That project, called the Three Sisters Apartments, will be a 70-unit housing complex for families with children. The units will be reserved for families who make no more than about $30,000, or 60 percent of the area's median income.

Chelsea Investment Corporation – a California-based company that's done business in New Mexico before this project – is the developer. The city sent about $3.4 million to the project.

"The project boasts a range of amenities tailored to its residents' needs, including a community space, laundry facilities, a computer center, BBQ and picnic area, a dog park, and two playgrounds," the city said in a news release.

The city broke ground on the second project on March 11. Pedrena Apartments will be located at the northeast corner of El Paseo Road and Farney Lane.

The 80-unit apartment complex is reserved for residents 55 or older. Like the Three Sisters Apartments, Pedrena Apartments are reserved for residents making no more than about $30,000, or 60 percent of the area's median income. The city expects the apartments to be completed in the summer or early fall of 2025.

"Pedrena Apartments is expected to be 100 percent occupied by December 2025," a news release said.

Thomas Development Co., of Boise, Idaho, is the lead developer.

The residents of Las Cruces approved a $6 million General Obligation Bond in 2022. The city pitched the bond as a vital source of money to help alleviate the negative impacts of a stunted stock of affordable housing. The city council issued the bond at a council meeting on March 4.

The federal government defines affordable housing as rent or mortgage that costs less than 30 percent of the combined income of everyone living in the unit.

According to a review of Las Cruces income data from the U.S. Census Bureau and available data about average rental and mortgage prices, more than half of all residents in Las Cruces could not afford over half of the available units.

Additionally, the city estimates that Las Cruces would need 5,600 more units to meet demand.

A recent report commissioned by the city noted that New Mexico State University and the various U.S. military installations in the area create additional demand. The report also found that only 20 percent of units in Las Cruces were suited to be easily rentable as a single-family attached unit (commonly known as a "mother-in-law casitas") or multifamily housing such as apartment complexes.

Breaking ground, Affordable Housing, low-income families, seniors