A ‘WELL Build­ing’ pi­lot at Las Sol­eras

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Wei­de­man

he Hous­ing Trust is poised to de­velop a bright, con­tem­po­rary-de­sign apart­ment com­plex with a strong well­ness com­po­nent at Las Sol­eras. The pro­ject named Sol­eras Sta­tion will of­fer hous­ing for a range of res­i­dents, in­clud­ing dis­abled per­sons, the pre­vi­ously home­less, and those with lim­ited in­come; it will serve house­holds earn­ing from 30 per­cent to 80 per­cent of me­dian in­come.

The Hous­ing Trust has part­nered with the city of Santa Fe, Pulte Homes, and the ar­chi­tec­ture firm Dekker/Perich/ Sa­ba­tini Ar­chi­tects on what is planned as a pi­lot pro­gram for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion through In­ter­na­tion­alWELL Build­ing Inc.

This is per­haps the only mul­ti­fam­ily WELL Build­ing pro­ject in the na­tion,” said the trust’s di­rec­tor, Shar­ron Welsh. “This is a new U.S. Green Build­ing Coun­cil cer­ti­fi­ca­tion based on the fact that well-de­signed build­ings can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on hu­man health.”

Welsh pur­sued theWELL Build­ing as­pect of Sol­eras Sta­tion af­ter see­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion by DPS in­tern ar­chi­tect Han­nah Feil Green­hood. “Han­nah’’s a big devo­tee of WELL Build­ing. There are seven el­e­ments to it, in­clud­ing air, men­tal heath, light­ing, and wa­ter. Our apart­ments will have a lot of day­light­ing, bet­ter wa­ter fil­ters on the faucets, and also a bi­cy­cle re­pair sta­tion and bi­cy­cle garages, just a few ex­am­ples.”

The Sol­eras Sta­tion site is about 1,000 feet east of Cer­ril­los Road, across Beck­ner Road and a bit east of the new VA clinic. There will be 87 units in six 3-story build­ings and five 2-story build­ings, plus a com­mu­nity build­ing.

On Jan. 7, the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion ap­proved the pro­ject’s pre­lim­i­nary de­vel­op­ment plan. Six days later, the Santa Fe City Coun­cil adopted a res­o­lu­tion agree­ing to ac­cept a do­na­tion of at least $1.4 mil­lion from Pulte Homes for a 4.5-acre par­cel of land for Sol­eras Sta­tion as well as nec­es­sary work to bring util­i­ties to the plot. Pulte also is do­nat­ing six lots in its sin­gle-fam­ily pro­ject to Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity.

Welsh said that readi­ness to pro­ceed is al­ways im­por­tant un­der the low-in­come hous­ing tax credit pro­gram, and that city plan­ners “have fast-tracked the de­vel­op­ment plan re­view to ac­com­mo­date the need for alacrity.”

“Sol­eras Sta­tion isn’t just an af­ford­able roof thrown up. This is a newway of do­ing af­ford­able hous­ing,” said Alexandra Ladd, spe­cial projects man­ager in the af­ford­able hous­ing divi­sion of the city’s Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment. “For very-low-in­come per­sons, the lack of hous­ing is not usu­ally their only prob­lem. They of­ten have many things go­ing on that makes them vul­ner­a­ble to hous­ing in­sta­bil­ity. For years and years the thought was, Well, you just get them un­der a roof and it’s up to them to get their lives to­gether and I think we’ve re­al­ized that doesn’t work very well.

“Th­ese projects that Shar­ron is do­ing are in­no­va­tive in a lot ofways and one of the ways is that there’s a whole va­ri­ety of in­comes within that one pro­ject. Peo­ple tend to think, Oh, it’s hor­ri­ble, you’re seg­re­gat­ing all th­ese poor peo­ple in one site, and it’s not like that. There will be peo­ple who are tran­si­tion­ing out of homelessness all the way up to peo­ple who are al­most ready to buy a home.

“The com­mu­nity also will have all sort of things that don’t hap­pen in a nor­mal apart­ment com­plex,” Ladd said. “They’ll of­fer GED­classes and ESL classes and home­buyer train­ing classes and res­i­dents will be able to ac­cess ser­vices on­site. It’s just a more holis­tic ap­proach to af­ford­able rental hous­ing.”

The Hous­ing Trust is mak­ing a se­ta­side for 20 per­cent of the units to be oc­cu­pied by per­sons emerg­ing from homelessness or folks with dis­abil­i­ties, and pro­vid­ing a pref­er­ence for veter­ans,” she said. The pro­ject in­cor­po­rates de­sign el­e­ments to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple with vi­sion and hear­ing im­pair­ments and the dis­abled. “At the end of the day that means we have a great col­lab­o­ra­tion on­go­ing with


At top, an ar­chi­tec­tural ren­der­ing shows new apart­ment build­ings flank­ing one of sev­eral court­yards. Right, the Sol­eras Sta­tion site plan. Also, three sketches for the de­vel­op­ment’s com­mu­nity build­ing.

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