Business Section

Tuesday - October 19th, 1999

City Reconsiders Buying Apartments

¡ Business

By Olivier Uyttebrouck
Journal Staff Writer

Landlords Call Competition Unfair

future ghetto," he said.
   Councilor Alan Armijo, sponsor of the measure, agreed to defer the ordinance until Nov. 1 after councilors Michael Brasher and Ruth Adams expressed strong opposition to the proposal.
   Brasher estimated that apartment occupancy could be as low as 50 percent in his Southeast Albuquerque district.
   "We're creating problems in some of these areas, and we need to look closely at this," Brasher said.
   Other landlords objected that the proposal would remove three large apartment complexes from the county's property tax rolls.
   Armijo countered that the proposal would remove only 0.06 percent of the county's assessed value from the property tax rolls.
   Councilor Tim Cummins also defended the city's affordable housing program, saying that developers are building few new apartment complexes in Albuquerque.
   "I really see this having no net effect on the marketplace," Cummins said..
   Todd Clarke, a spokesman for Lewinger Hamilton, the company that manages the city's affordable-housing apartments, estimated that 600 new apartments will open in Albuquerque within the next year.
   He also said that few new tenants who move into the city's rent-

City councilors deferred a proposal Monday that would more than double the number of apartments in Albuquerque's affordable-housing program after landlords argued that the city competed unfairly with private owners.
   The proposed ordinance would authorize the city to issue $23 million worth of gross receipts tax revenue bonds to pay for three complexes with a total of 658 apartments.
   The measure would increase the size of the city's affordable-housing program to 1,162 apartments.  The bond issue would allow the city to buy the Central Park, International House and Summit apartment complexes.
   Several owners of private apartment complexes complained that a soft market for apartments in Albuquerque has landlords on the ropes in older areas of the city.  The city's proposal to enlarge its rent-subsidized housing program would force some apartment owners out of business, they contend.
   "I'm losing $1,000 a month, and I'm a small business," said Lee Amador, who rents apartments in the Northeast Heights.  "In the older areas, it's difficult to rent apartments."
   The only option for landlords who can't profit from their apartments is to board up their buildings, he said.
   "I'm seeing what appears to be a

subsidized apartments move from apartments owned by private landlords.  Often, they are single mothers who need a larger apartment to accommodate their families, he said.