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Council Approves Land Donation For Affordable Housing Project: Canyon Walk Apartments On DP Road

on January 11, 2018 - 7:44am

From left, Economic Development Administrator Joan Ahlers, Bethel Development, Inc. President Daniel N. Terlecki and Community Development Department Director Paul Andrus. Photo by Carol A. Clark/


Los Alamos Daily Post

The Los Alamos County Council at its meeting Tuesday evening approved 6-0 the adoption of Ordinance No. 676, which states that the County is authorized to grant financial assistance to affordable housing, including land donation and support for infrastructure improvements.

The 4.2 acre land parcel donation is between the Columbian Club Hall and the Los Alamos County Fire Departent Training Center on DP Road.

The County's Community Development Department (CDD), received an application Nov. 27, 2017 for an Affordable Housing Project proposal from Bethel Development, Inc. The proposed project is for the construction of 70 affordable rental apartments on the County-owned property located at 120 DP Road, also known as A-9. 

Bethel’s proposal requests the County’s participation in the project, initially by actively supporting an application to the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which, if awarded to the project, would provide the majority of financing equity for the successful construction of the project. The County’s participation in the LIHTC application and in support of the project would involve the donation of the A-9 parcel as well as a financial contribution toward the installation of off-site infrastructure and utilities to serve the project.

The County would ultimately own all off-site improvements.

Upon review of the project application and an Eligible Entity application submitted by Bethel, CDD staff have determined that Bethel meets all of the County’s requirements as defined by County Housing Ordinance 664 and also that the proposed project meets the affordable housing goals of County Council.

The proposed project is consistent with County Housing Goals which are to Promote the creation of a variety of housing options for all segments of the Los Alamos Community, including infill opportunities as appropriate, and Support development of affordable workforce housing.

Bethel is requesting financial contributions to the project including Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority ("MFA") and the donation of the County-owned Tract A-9 for the proposed development site valued at $1,060,000 (current appraisal date Dec. 1, 2017. In addition, the County will contribute up to $500,000 toward the project off-site improvements, which would include utilities and road infrastructure to serve the site.

CIP funding for the infrastructure to the site has previously been approved by Council as part of the overall effort to bring such infrastructure to DP Road. Bethel will submit the application for a LIHTC Award in February 2018 and as part of the application is required to identify the County’s committed contributions to the project.

Ordinance No. 664 states the County is authorized to grant financial assistance to affordable housing, including land donation and support for infrastructure improvements. For each specific instance of County support to an affordable housing project that includes a land donation, an ordinance is required for authorization of the donation. The County Attorney has conferred with legal staff from MFA regarding the proposed project and received confirmation that the project as proposed conforms to both the New Mexico Affordable Housing Act and to all applicable Los Alamos County Affordable Housing Ordinances.

Bethel’s application to MFA for LIHTCs will include a copy of this Ordinance authorizing Tract A-9 land donation upon a successful award of Tax Credits. The attached Development Agreement (DA) requires that the project have a 35-year affordability period and the land donation value will be secured by a County mortgage and security instrument.

The proposed project is for a 70-unit affordable housing development, to be comprised of four buildings, two and three-story walk-ups. Units will be a mix of one, two and three bedrooms to serve a variety of households. Eleven units are to be restricted to households earning up to 60 percent area median income (AMI); 49 units will serve households earning up to 50 percent AMI; and ten (10) units will serve households earning up to 40 percent AMI; as calculated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Bethel Development is “vertically integrated” in that the company controls all phases of the housing development process for each of their properties. Bethel intends to design, construct own and manage the Canyon Walk Apartments, which demonstrates their long term commitment to Los Alamos. Bethel’s affiliate contractor, Qualcon Builders LLC will be the general contractor and Kay-kay Realty Corp will manage the property.

Rainbow Housing Corporation will be contracted to provide family support services including case management, support groups, vocational training, life skills, and other services with the goal of helping residents live in quality, safe, affordable housing and live enjoyable and productive lives. Bethel Development, Inc. maintains over 95 percent occupancy on each of its properties and every project has a positive cash flow.

President and General Partner Dan Terlecki of Bethel Development Inc., has developed 29 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects totaling 2,103 units in New Mexico, Ohio, Arizona, Kentucky and Utah. To date, he has successfully negotiated financing totaling more than $199 million.

Project Manager Mark Shoemacher brings more than 30 years of expertise and experience to Bethel Development, Inc. His primary focus is to implement Bethel's strategic plan to develop multifamily and affordable housing opportunities in New Mexico and Arizona. Shoemacher has developed multi-family, elderly, nursing homes and single-family houses in 10 states and has expertise in LIHTC developments and most HUD and FHA housing programs.

County staff toured one of Bethel's affordable housing properties as part of staff's due diligence regarding the quality and maintenance of Bethel's housing product. The property that was toured was the La Terraza Apartments in Farmington, which is approximately eight years old and represents the type of development and product that is being proposed for Los Alamos. Staff found the property grounds and units to be very well maintained.