New apartments ease housing stress in Taos

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A new apartment building is in the works for Taos as the town seeks to increase the number of affordable dwellings for low-income residents.

The $7 million building project will add 26 new units to the existing low-income housing complex on Gusdorf Road. The project, under construction by Community Builders, also includes renovating the existing buildings across the road, which were constructed nearly 20 years ago. Since early in May, the construction project has been ongoing. The previous occupants of the buildings being renovated were relocated during the work. With scheduled completion in March or April of next year, new tenants will be able to move in, alleviating some of the crowding and lack of affordable housing in Taos.

"The design is unique," said project Manager Lew Lewis of Community Builders. "I think it blends well with the Taos environment and atmosphere."

As low-income housing, the units will be available to rent to those who qualify for housing assistance. Rent is decided based on a percentage of monthly income and is then applied to the cost of the buildings. The development will not be used for Section 8 housing. According to Lewis, more than 20 occupants are currently living at the location and will be moved once a new wing's renovations are completed.

The construction has been ongoing on Gusdorf for several months with minor inconveniences to traffic, including reducing the street to one lane when transferring utilities from one side of the street to the other. The new complex will be set across Gusdorf Road to the east of the existing apartments. Once completed, both sides of the street will have similar layouts, which will include playgrounds on both sides of the development.

While the project is largely a two-story multifamily housing construction site, Lewis said the buildings do not breach the town's height restrictions and the buildings are shorter than 24 feet. The project is a private build from Lewis and Steve Crozier of Community Builders, but was helped by the town, which paid for the initial water and sewage hookup fees, according to Lewis.

"There has been a need for more housing in Taos," Lewis said.

The 55-member crew has been working through rain and other weather, which Lewis said has not been much of an issue, to complete the project. Although local workers are hired whenever possible, those subcontractors working from outside of Taos have been staying in Taos and contributing to the local economy, according to Lewis.

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