- The Step Back Inn apartments, 123 W. Azec Blvd., will consist of 17 units.
- Each apartment consists of a living room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a small kitchen.
- Blancett said she spent $ 10,000 per room to renovate the building.
AZTEC – Longtime Aztec innkeeper Tweeti Blancett may have left the hotel business, but that doesn’t mean she’s finished providing shelter to people
Blancett has transformed his Step Back Inn into an apartment building, which caters exclusively to single women aged 60 or older. She plans to open the doors of her latest business as soon as she passes her last inspection of San Juan County, which she says will be overnight.
The Step Back Inn apartments, 123 W. Azec Blvd., will consist of 17 units, each comprising a living room, bedroom, bathroom and small kitchen. The building also offers The Parlor, a large community room that can be used for meals or group activities; a large fully equipped commercial kitchen that residents can entrust to a caterer or use themselves to prepare large meals for several guests; laundry rooms; and five furnished rooms for rent upstairs for those with overnight guests.
Blancett, a former state lawmaker who traces her family’s history in Aztec across generations, knows she caters to a relatively small market. But she thinks there are more than enough women out there looking for the kind of living situation her apartment building will give them.
“You have to make up your mind to downsize,” she said, describing the type of tenant she has in mind. “If you are looking for a three or four bedroom house, this is not for you.”
Instead, the Step Back Inn Apartments are designed to appeal to older women who are no longer married but don’t want to live with their children. Blancett thinks there are a lot of women of this description who also don’t want to be responsible for cleaning and maintaining a home or yard, especially if they can afford to travel a lot.
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Blancett said his apartments will provide them with a small, comfortable, safe and convenient place to live. It will also give them easy access to multiple neighbors with whom they will have a lot in common, creating an almost instant sense of community, she said.
“If you want to sit in The Parlor and be part of a quilting group, prayer group, or group of people studying genealogy, there will be someone with you with the same interest in genealogy. life, âBlancett said.
The building will allow women in this age group to be surrounded by others who share many of their experiences and perspectives. It’s not something some older people can get even from their families, she said.
âThe difference is, we don’t mind listening to stories about our early days, and the kids do,â Blancett said.
The Step Back Inn apartments will also offer other amenities. Blancett maintains a large, well-maintained patio surrounded by flowers which she says will be a popular gathering place for residents.
Each unit will be thoroughly cleaned by staff once a month. And a weekday shuttle service will run between the building and the Aztec Senior Center for lunch for those who wish to go out, while arrangements for lunch delivery can be made for those who prefer to stay at home.
This does not mean that the building staff will play the role of mother hen for the residents. Blancett is adamant about it.
âThey have to be physically, mentally and financially independent to live here,â she said of the residents. “This is by no means assisted living. If you are not feeling well, we will help you. Other than that, we will leave you alone.”
Converting her hotel to an apartment building was not Blancett’s first choice when she closed the Step Back Inn last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She first explored the idea of ââselling the building to the Mosaic Academy in Aztec, but when that idea turned out to be unworkable, she came up with this idea.
And now she’s happy that things turned out the way they did.
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âI was very happy with the idea of ââthe school, because my husband and I both taught a lot,â she said. “But I also really like the idea.”
Blancett is convinced that the building will be a success. She said she only marketed it on her personal Facebook page, yet she has already been approached by several potential tenants. She expects to open the building with 10 of the rented units, and she doesn’t think it will be long before the other seven are claimed.
âI plan to be full,â she said.
Blancett said he spent $ 10,000 per unit to renovate the building, mostly adding a kitchen to each apartment. But the renovation did not require any new windows or modification of the load-bearing walls. She opened the Step Back Inn as a new building in 1995, and she proudly claims that she oversaw all aspects of its construction and takes pride in the quality of this work.
There are 10 apartments upstairs and seven units on the ground floor. The upstairs units will be rented for $ 1,750 per month unfurnished and $ 2,250 furnished, while the downstairs apartments will cost $ 2,000 unfurnished and $ 2,500 furnished. These prices include utilities, cable, internet and local phone service – all vestiges of the days of building as a hotel.
For more information call 505-334-1200 or email [email protected]
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected]Support local journalism with a digital subscription.