Duke City Welcomes $19M Affordable Community

The Imperial Building is downtown Albuquerque's first major mixed-use development since the recession.
The Imperial Building, Albuquerque

Chris Baca, CEO, YES Housing (left) and Charles Milligan, CEO of UnitedHealthcare on the rooftop community garden at the Imperial Building.

Albuquerque, N.M.—A $19 million affordable housing development that is also downtown Albuquerque’s first major mixed-use project since the Great Recession has opened its doors.

Dubbed the Imperial Building,  the five-story community features 74 apartments on three floors, a below-grade parking garage, a ground-floor grocery store and a rooftop garden terrace. The project was developed by YES Housing in partnership with the city of Albuquerque, Geltmore LLC, Bernalillo County, New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and UnitedHealthcare.

“This is the first major mixed-use development to open in Downtown since the recession,” said Chris Baca, CEO of YES Housing Inc., in a statement. “It’s significant, because as we add residents and new businesses to downtown, it creates a multiplier effect. This development is centrally located to all transportation modalities—the Albuquerque Transit Center and the new Albuquerque Rapid Transit, the Railrunner, I-25 and the Sunport—making this location one of the most desirable in town.”

UnitedHealthcare, the largest investor in the project, infused $11.9 million into The Imperial Building. The insurance provider partnered with Enterprise Community Investment to use the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) approved by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

“The Imperial Building is an important new affordable housing community that will have a tremendous impact in our state for years to come,” said Charles Milligan, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New Mexico. “UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to help ensure people in downtown Albuquerque have access to housing and health care services that will help them live healthier lives.”

During its collaboration with Enterprise, UnitedHealthcare has invested $34 million in five New Mexico affordable housing projects totaling 315 apartments. In addition to Albuquerque, the communities are located in Deming, Gallup, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.

Rents for the 54 apartments at the Imperial Building are set between 30 and 50 percent of the area’s median income. Twenty of the units are not restricted under the LIHTC program, but will have rents set at about 10 percent below market prices in the area. Another 15  apartments are designed for special-needs residents. The Imperial Building achieved Enterprise Green Community certification and is also certified under ENERGY STAR New Homes.