Housing relief may be near

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

The next two weeks could see the beginning of relief for what many see as a housing shortage in Portales..

Mel Ottley, president of Mock Homes of Albuquerque, said he plans to begin building three model homes in the Baca Subdivision on University Drive west of Eastern New Mexico University in about two weeks.

Also, Bruce Hamon of Hamon Development from Denver said his company is working on a planned community near the Portales Country Club golf course. He would like to submit the plan for approval from the City of Portales in 120 days, but is uncertain if that schedule will work.

Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation Director Greg Fisher said he has been working with developers for several months.

“We desperately need several hundred rental units and affordable homes to fill the demand from Cannon and a growing ENMU population,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of great… development parcels, and developers find us easy to work with and affordable, so we expect to see a few more housing projects popping up over the next year.”

Fisher said he expects new housing subdivisions will bring in more retail and commercial development, once credit markets improve.

Ottley said he has 15 lots.

The first three homes will have different floor plans and range in cost from $159,950 to $179,950, he said. All are to have two bathrooms and two-car garages, and two will have three bedrooms, while the third will contain four bedrooms.

After the model homes, which are already for sale with ReMax, Ottley intends to build houses as quickly as people buy them.

While he is working with three floor plans now, he said he expects to make changes as time goes on.

“We need to build what the people want,” Ottley said.

Ottley is also looking at other land in Portales, and thinks his company will later build in Clovis.

As for the planned community, Hamon said his company has submitted a preliminary master plan to the city and is working on a final one. At this point, he said, no details have been determined.

“It’s to meet the housing demands that are there now,” he said of the development, adding his company’s employees are analyzing what needs might arise in the future as well.

Hamon expects the planned community to contain single and multi-family homes. He also envisions several home builders working there.

“We’re trying to get the infrastructure established so houses can be built,” Hamon said.