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ALBUQUERQUE, NM-A first-time joint venture has begun moving dirt for its 72-unit Elements Townhomes in downtown Albuquerque. The energy-efficient and green complex is being built at a cost of $21.3 million, with the first units coming on line by early 2010.

The project at Third and Lead streets is being developed by Romero Rose LLC and SG Properties. The partners are applying for Gold Certification from Build Green New Mexico, a program with the Home Builders Association of New Mexico that encourages and facilitates green construction.

Local SG Properties owner Sean Gilligan tells GlobeSt.com that Elements Townhomes is part of an overall rehab of the downtown area, overseen by the city. He explains that the project is also near the just-opened station that provides service to the New Mexico Rail Runner Express that provides rail service to various areas in the state.

In terms of going green with the development, “enough people in Albuquerque are forward-thinking enough to realize we need to do things that are more sustainable,” Gilligan notes. “It’s not just going to be built energy-efficient, but the form, the compact townhomes, and walking distance to jobs is what makes it as green as the fact we have insulation and hot-water solar panels.”

Gilligan says Townhome Elements is his company’s first venture with Romero Rose, a local subsidiary of New York City-based Jonathan Rose Cos. LLC. The Rose Cos. are known for working with developing tax-credit apartments and live-work communities. Townhome Elements is a test run for both companies, as SG Properties has, in the past, focused on in-fill projects and neighborhood commercial centers. Eight units will be offered first, and the remainder built as demand dictates.

Travis Toms with Venture Realty Group of Albuquerque is handling sales on the units, which start at around $250,000. The three-bedroom units measure between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

Gilligan says that given the interest so far in the project, he anticipates good sales velocity. “We’ll all see how this goes, and if it does go well, I’d be interested in moving forward on others,” Gilligan adds.

Treveston Elliot Architects is the designer, Python Construction Management Ltd. the land developer and Gerald Martin Construction the general contractor. All are located in Albuquerque. Charter Bank of West Point, GA provided the construction financing for the project.

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