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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Frappier

Luminaria Senior Community Opens in Albuquerque

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Albuquerque’s newest 55+ housing community delivers affordable housing to seniors and will serve to revitalize the area along east Central Avenue.

Members of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce assist Felipe Rael, executive director of GAHP, Mayor Tim Keller, Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, and resident Christopher Ortiz cut the ribbon.

Albuquerque, NM, March 30, 2022 – A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday, March 30 at Luminaria Senior Community and included speakers representing the many partners involved with the new affordable apartment community for seniors 55+. The 92-unit apartment community was developed by Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, an Albuquerque nonprofit that builds, owns, and manages affordable housing for individuals and families. The multi-family development includes 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, a fitness center, a large community room, a private dog park, and outdoor seating areas.

The community is home to seniors age 55+ with incomes between 30-80% of Area Median Income, providing a safe and affordable option to seniors living on fixed incomes or social security benefits. Enrichment services to residents will be offered at no cost to residents including health screenings, Medicaid/Medicare enrollment counseling, and a food pantry. Luminaria is the only senior affordable housing development within a mile of the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center where residents can enjoy recreational, educational and fitness activities and have access to large outdoor recreation fields and a multi-use trail.

See all the speakers here!

Izzy Hernandez, executive director the NM Mortgage Finance Authority stated, “Affordable housing is not just a roof over somebody’s head, it is the foundation for thriving families and communities.” This was echoed by Christopher Ortiz, a new Luminaria resident speaking at the ribbon cutting,

“I was homeless… you didn’t give me an apartment, you gave me a home.”

Unique to this development is the partnership with the New Mexico State Land Office who leased the public land to Luminaria. GAHP removed a dilapidated building and, through the Public Private Partnership, cleaned up and improved a site too difficult for typical commercial construction. Stephanie Garcia Richard, NM State Land Commissioner says they want to use the 13 million acres in their care to solve community problems and that this is one deal that works toward that goal. “This long-term lease will raise $2 million for New Mexico schools over the life of the lease,” explained Garcia Richard.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller declared, “This is an example of the power of collaboration. We hope this is the beginning of more affordable senior housing in this area.”

Luminaria Senior Community provides the transit-oriented design, façade and landscape beautification, improved lighting and activity, and enhancements to safety specifically desired within the City’s East Metropolitan Development Area and Route 66 Action Plan. “One of the really exciting things about Luminaria is the way it will bring beauty to the neighborhood through public art,” explained Renee Grout, city councilor for District 9. The north side of the building features two 20-foot by 6-foot mural panels at the sidewalk level. Molly Mendenhall, a New Mexico mural artist, and Albuquerque native, won a $15,000 competitive grant to create the murals and will soon begin work on the design. As part of the submission process, Mendenhall had to provide her vision for bringing the theme of Route 66 to life. “I see the Route 66 murals stylized in a way which make them feel more contemporary, bright, dramatic, and interesting, while also preserving a feel for the history and tradition of the place,” she related to the jury panel.

Funding for the $18 million development included $10.4 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded through the competitive process with New Mexico Mortgage Finance authority; $3.2 million from the City of Albuquerque HOME funds; and $3.8 million in permanent loan funds from the Bank of Albuquerque. The project architect is Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, the general contractor is Jaynes Corporation, and it is being professionally managed by Monarch Properties, Inc.

See more photos below!

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