Hotel Clovis project to move forward

Sharna Johnson

A Taos developer has bridged a funding gap and will be cleared to move forward with renovation of Hotel Clovis in as little as a week, according to state officials.

Developer Stephen Crozier is poised to close his loans by next week and has satisfied underwriting requirements, said Linda Bridge, housing development director for the Mortgage Finance Authority.

“(Crozier) is moving forward. We’ve been working very closely with him and we have extended the deadline to get the loans closed (and the) partnerships closed,” Bridge said.

“We think this should probably get everything wrapped up in the next week.”

Bridge said Crozier’s tax-credit allocation has been preserved and he will have until December 2012 to complete the Hotel Clovis project.

In addition to renovating the nine-story hotel, two buildings would be constructed to contain a total of 59 apartment units.

The project experienced a period of uncertainty after voters defeated an affordable housing plan ordinance on Aug. 2 aimed at allowing the city to circumvent a state anti-donation clause to promote development of low-income housing options.

At the time of the special election, Crozier, CEO of Tierra Realty LLC — already approved to receive $10 million in federal tax credits for creating low-income housing and historic renovation — had reached a tentative agreement with the city to receive up to $1.4 million in a combination of loans and grants.

The money from the city would have bridged a funding gap he has said the soured economy created in his $12.8 million proposed housing development.

Failure of the affordable housing plan meant the city could not gift Crozier the building, nor could it enter into a lending arrangement with him, all things that his tax-credit approval was hinged on.

Crozier was able to restructure his financial plan by “re-evaluating costs and bringing in more equity,” Bridge said.

“The gap lost through the city (election) has been bridged.”

Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said the city commission recently voted to close a section of Second Street from Main to Pile streets to allow for construction and will lease Crozier the building for 99 years.

“He is going to swing hammers as soon as he gets it closed,” Brumfield said.

“By the middle of September you’re going to be seeing some things going on out there.”

Brumfield said the building will not generate property tax income for the community under the lease agreement, which it would have had the city been able to donate the hotel to Crozier under the original plan.

“The affordable housing plan wasn’t just about the hotel, but it would have been, in my opinion, a better way to go. To me that is smaller government when you can take property that the city’s not going to use and put it back into private sector,” she said.

Brumfield said the city will continue to aid in the project where possible and can assist Crozier with infrastructure such as curbs and sidewalks.

They are also looking for grants that can be used to further the project, she said.

Crozier has not responded to repeated requests for comment in recent months.