Santa Fe releases guidelines for its midtown campus
The city of Santa Fe released a set of guiding principles Thursday for the future of its midtown property once known as the campus of the defunct Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
The document outlines hopes for an environmentally friendly and economically sustainable development that could eliminate the city’s debt on the property “in a reasonable time,” according to the guidelines.
The city owns the 64.22-acre campus and some adjoining land. Control of the location reverted to the city July 1 after the university closed its doors for good, citing financial difficulties. The city, which bought the property in 2009, is obligated to pay about $2.2 million annually through June 1, 2036, if the debt is not paid off sooner.
Mayor Alan Webber, City Council member Signe Lindell and Matthew O’Reilly, assistant development director, unveiled the guidelines, part of a 100-plus page report, at a news conference.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Lindell said.
Webber called the campus “the geographic center of the city” and said one of the goals officials have for the property is to “attract and keep young people in the city.”
A resolution asking the City Council to accept the report and adopt the guidelines is expected to go up for approval July 25 after first being reviewed by the council’s Finance and Public Works committees.
After a lengthy public outreach effort called the Midtown Campus Project was conducted from January to April, members of the public identified five things they wanted to see at the campus, O’Reilly said. Those are: higher education, housing, film and emerging media, continued use of the campus for arts and creativity, and new business and innovation.
Webber said some type of guidance structure or oversight system, perhaps in the form of a board or transition team, will be developed to help advance the process.
“It’s got to be guided in a way that lets it move aggressively forward,” he said.
Webber said there have been discussions with colleges and universities, including some before he took office in March. He added that officials also are looking at examples of other revamps — citing Treasure Island in San Francisco, a former naval base that was transformed into housing and other amenities, and the transformation of the old Stapleton International Airport in Denver, which became a mixed-use development after it was closed.
According to the guidelines, the City Council in 2016 approved the 378-acre Midtown Local Innovation Corridor District near St. Michael’s Drive between Cerrillos Road and St. Francis Drive, which is designed to promote higherdensity housing and complementary commercial uses.
In October 2017, the council passed a resolution with a goal to for the property to have many uses, “with a preference for higher education as the anchor.”
Other goals listed in the guidelines include: integrating the area with surrounding neighborhoods; linking the development to roads, biking and walking paths; providing electric charging stations and shuttle services; using green building techniques; creating an attractive “live, work, play and learn” option on or near the campus.