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Recently opened apartments aim for higher-end renters

Construction continues on a Phase I apartment building at the Spring River property on North Sycamore Avenue, while some units are being leased now. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Research indicates high apartment vacancy rates in Chaves County, but a leasing agent working for a new apartment complex in Roswell is expecting all of its units to find tenants.

The Spring River Luxury Apartments on North Sycamore Avenue began renting units on Aug. 22 and is now about 50 percent occupied, according to leasing consultant Adam Romero with the property management firm of Shelton-Cooke Real Estate Services, based in Arizona.

“Forty units are totally leased out of the 80 units available,” Romero said.

Rents for the one- to three-bedroom apartments range from $970 to $1,300 a month.

Romero said the management firm thinks it soon will achieve full occupancy of the five completed Phase 1 buildings, which have 16 units each, as Shelton-Cooke increases marketing efforts now that construction of the front entrance is done and a Jan. 17 grand opening ceremony is planned.

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“We are definitely getting a lot of calls from people traveling to Roswell,” said Romero, “such as traveling nurses who only plan to be here a year or two.”

He added that several people associated with Eastern New Mexico Medical Center also are tenants.

In addition to a community building and a pool and playground area, Phase I consists of nine apartment buildings.

Lee Sanchez, construction superintendent with Icon Builders, said that appliances need to be installed in another two buildings, with those units due to be ready for leasing by next week. An additional building is now under construction, with completion slated for mid-February. Another apartment building remains to be built to finish Phase 1.

Phase II, planned to include an additional seven apartment buildings, should begin by summer, he said.

When finished, the entire complex is designed to have 256 units.

The apartment complex developed by Stephen Emery Holdings Ltd. of Tucscon, Arizona, Chad Lydick of Clovis and Icon Builders, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, was considered an important piece of the local housing picture for Roswell when its groundbreaking occurred in May 2016.

Mayor Dennis Kintigh and other local officials touted the project as beneficial to their efforts to attract new businesses to the area. They said that potential employers sometimes cited the lack of quality apartments or rental housing as a disincentive for relocating to the area.

The Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. reported in 2016 that Roswell had 21 apartment buildings with a total of 1,133 units that were not restricted to the elderly or disabled. Eight of those 21, representing about 515 of the 1,133 units, were meant to serve only lower-income populations. Many existing apartments are also decades old. Only five of the 21 complexes operating in 2016 were built in the last 20 years.

With factors such as older apartments, a weaker job market and more options regarding affordable houses to rent, a July 2017 report from the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that Chaves County had the second-highest apartment vacancy rate in the state in April 2017 at 14.7 percent. That rate was determined by surveys completed by 15 properties with 1,501 units.

Only the Taos region reported a higher vacancy rate at 17.3 percent. The average for the New Mexico areas studied, which did not include Albuquerque, Santa Fe or Rio Rancho, was 5.6 percent.

The average monthly rent in May 2017 for Chaves County was $708, compared to the average of $581 for the statewide study area.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.