Posted 01 May 17 By: No comments yet

Pricey condos top off Uptown mixed use project

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The team behind The 24s@Uptown hope the mixed-use project, where several luxury condominiums and office spaces are for sale, will launch a wave of redevelopment in the area.

The investors have updated the entire fourth floor, where six residences are selling in the $470,000 to $830,000 price range. Four have been purchased — three of them by the developers, which includes John Lewinger, Irwin and Debbie Harms and Darrell Gustin.

Lewinger, who recently hosted a sneak peek of the construction underway at 2424 Louisiana NE, the former Main Bank building, said the remaining units will probably be sold to “a well-employed millennial or a well-heeled baby boomer.”

A veteran of the commercial real estate industry, Lewinger said the residential component, admittedly pricey for Albuquerque, is a game-changer for Uptown. “This concept is very new to the city. Other developers are watching it closely,” said Lewinger of venturing into uncertain development waters with The 24s@Uptown.

Financing partner for the project is New Mexico Bank & Trust.

Buyers are expecting a lot for the big bucks they are spending for a project urban advocates have been pushing for years: mixed-use development with residences above offices or retail space.

“These are being handled as if we were building custom homes,” said Lewinger, referring to the high-end finishes and appliances for the units, which range in size from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet.

He said the development team is eyeing other 1970s- and 1980s-era structures along the active corridor to bring back to life as mixed-use properties that feature commercial and residential condominiums.

Irwin Harms, whose construction firm Sun Vista Enterprises is general contractor for the design-and-build project, said costs are $4.5 million to convert the top floor into residential units.

That includes installing windows, plumbing, Sub-zero and Wolf appliances in the kitchens, double-walled soundproofing between the units and adding balconies. The punch list also includes turning the building’s basement into a parking garage for residents — a space where the Mary Kay Cosmetics training center was once located.

“It was very pink down here,” said Debbie Harms, CEO of the real estate company NAI Maestas & Ward.

Plans are also on the drawing board to build a brand new 6,000-square foot retail center in front of the property facing Louisiana Boulevard. “We’re not looking for a restaurant; there are over 30 in the area already,” Debbie Harms added.  “We’ll look for a tenant that nicely complements the businesses in the area.”

The 86,000-square-foot building incorporates some of the history of the location into its design, including a Carrara marble wall in the lobby. “It’s all the rage now,” said Debbie of the stylish material now back in vogue. “It’s staying,” she said.

The second and third floors already have been sold to accounting and law firms, said Lewinger.

That leaves 16,000 square feet on the ground floor open for sale or lease, said Tim With, a broker with Colliers International of New Mexico. The space would be ideal for a bank, credit union or an urgent care clinic with a pharmacy, he said, since the space it comes with the use of a “rare” drive thru. With said 7,000 square feet of the ground floor already is leased to an agency of the federal government for the next four years.  A future user “could subsidize debt service” with the rent from the tenant, added With.

By:  Steve Sinovic, Staff Writer - Albuquerque Journal

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