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Spring River apartments to start second phase

A developer of the Spring River Apartments on North Sycamore Avenue said the additional units in the second phase are “desperately” needed in Roswell. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Construction on the second phase of a higher-end apartment complex in Roswell is expected to begin this week or early next week.

Emery Chukly of Emery Stephens Holdings Ltd. of Arizona, one of the partners of the Spring River Luxury Apartments, said that people should see “mobilization of the equipment” within a few days at the property on North Sycamore Avenue, near West College Boulevard.

The addition of 112 units to a complex that began renting units in August 2017 and held its grand opening in January 2018 is expected to take 12 to 14 months. ENJ Construction, based in Irving, Texas, is heading the work. The project cost has been estimated at about $16 million.

Chukly said buildings will be done in phases and leasing probably will begin before all units are done.

The first phase had 144 units and included a community room, a pool, detached garages and other features.

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Originally Chukly and his partner Chad Lydick of Lydick Engineers and Surveyors of Clovis had expected to begin construction on the second phase in November 2020. The pandemic and its economic impacts caused a slow down in financing.

Part of the project is financed by loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development so that the units can be rented at reasonable rates.

The first phase is about 96% occupied, according to Isaac Baca with the property management firm Shelton Residential. He said rents range from $1,055 a month for a one-bedroom unit to $1,385 a month for a three-bedroom unit. Chukly said the apartment complex has stayed full since it opened.

Michael Espiritu, president of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp., said the project will “dovetail nicely into supporting the housing needs of the new aircraft maintenance technicians when Ascent Aviation begins work here.”

Ascent Aviation Services of Arizona has announced plans to open a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation at the Roswell Air Center around April 2022, with the expectation of hiring about 100 mechanics and support personnel.

City of Roswell staff also have talked at public meetings about the need for more rental housing for firefighters, law enforcement, health care professionals and other critically needed workers for the area.

“There was already a demand even before Ascent,” Chukly said. “I am just glad we can provide the facilities and services that are desperately needed in Roswell.”

He added that he has appreciated the assistance that people with the Economic Development Corp. and the city have provided for the project.

A March 2020 survey of the apartment markets in many New Mexico cities found that the average weighted vacancy rate for Chaves County was 4.4%, a bit higher than the 3.9% rate for the 10-county area studied. Weighted rates take in various factors, including the category of housing, according to the report by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Properties renting units for $800 a more a month represented about 16% of all 258 properties in the study. Properties renting apartments for $500 to $699 a month were 50% of those surveyed. For Chaves County, the weighted average rent was $631 a month, which was a slight decrease from 2019.

According to the report, Chaves County had 12 apartment properties that responded to the 2020 survey, which represented 681 total units. The vast majority of units, 577, are two- and three-bedroom apartments.

In a March 2019 survey, vacancy rates were even lower among less expensive units. Out of 445 efficiencies and one-bedroom units in that survey, there were only six vacancies reported, or 1.3% of those available. That compared to a 7.9% vacancy rate for two- and three-bedroom units.

The city of Roswell has taken efforts to encourage affordable housing development in the area. It has set aside some property that it will provide to developers willing to build single-family homes for lower-income families, and it has put incentives into its zoning code for builders wanting to develop multifamily projects.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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