BELEN — It’s been decades since a new subdivision has been built in the Hub City, but that dry spell seems to be over.
Westway Homes, a new, local home building company, has bought and will soon develop a subdivision, De La Reina Queen, off Don Luis Trujillo Boulevard, just south of Cemco.
The new subdivision will be home to 92 houses, a pocket park and storage units for the homeowners.
There are six different floor plans, varying in size from a 1,137 square foot one-story home to a 1,816 square foot two-story house, for homeowners to choose from.
The homes also differ in the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. For instance, “The Opal” is 1,137 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bath. “The Agate” is 1,296 square feet with three bedrooms and one bath, and “The Ruby” is 1,620 square feet and has four bedrooms and 2.5 baths.
Steven Tomita, the city’s planning and economic development manager, said Westway Homes bought the undeveloped subdivision last year.
“The old subdivision had never received final plat,” Tomita said. “The initial developer had come in and received preliminary plat approval more than 10 years ago. They went and built it without final approval.”
Tomita said the developer had died and no homes had been built but the roads and infrastructure had been constructed. “There are 100 lots; the storage units and pocket part, which will be at the southern entrance, will take up about seven lots,” he said. “There will be two entrances going into the subdivision and the southern entrance will be gated.”
Tomita said the lots are pretty small, and the developer was able to acquire a variance from the city’s planning and zoning commission for a shorter setback in the front.
The standard setback in the city of Belen is 20 feet, and the commission granted a 15-20 feet setback for each home.
“We granted the setback so the homes can stagger,” Tomita said. “They want the porches to be more prominent.”
The city’s planning and economic development manager said the homes in the De La Reina Queen subdivision will be about $70,000 cheaper than homes currently being built in Los Lunas.
“They want to make sure these are good, quality homes,” he said. “I understand there will be granite in every house.”
As construction begins, Tomita said homeowners might have the opportunity to customize the interior with upgrades. He said the developer will begin building on the east end of the property, which Tomita said will have the best views.
“It’s my understanding he’s already got some lots sold,” Tomita said.
That’s not surprising to him, saying the housing market in Belen and in Valencia County has been booming.
“I was told last week that there was a home that went on the market here in Belen, and they had three or four offers in three or four days, greater than what it was listed at,” Tomita said. “This is the hottest market in years.”
What has helped, Tomita said, is the housing market in Belen is cheaper than in Albuquerque, and that people are wanting to get out of the “big city” and the traffic congestion in Los Lunas.
“There aren’t even a lot of homes to rent,” he said. “The whole county is like this.”
He also believes the economic growth in Valencia County has greatly impacted the housing market.
“With the jobs Keter has brought in, as well as Facebook,” he said.
“It’s been about 20 years that the last subdivision was fully built, Belen de Jardin. It’s my understanding that this construction activity that has been going on is the most in the last 25 years.”
As more people move into Belen, it will attract more business and industry. While he is working on bringing in more business into Belen, Tomita said his focus is attracting industry into the area.
“Things are looking up in Belen,” he said. “We’re all very excited.”