Let’s get with the LINC program
Announcing that Santa Fe has a shortage of affordable housing is not going to turn heads today because everyone knows that. Rather, let’s discuss that estimated 50 percent of Santa Fe’s wage earnings are paid to people who live outside of Santa Fe County. This tremendous loss to our economy should turn heads and cause outrage all the way down Cerrillos Road. A lot of effort went into creating a living wage that Santa Fe businesses pay, so why are half those wages going home to neighboring counties?
“BringWorkers Home” is the new rally call to help people who work in Santa Fe but can’t find housing here. The Santa Fe Association of Realtors recently hosted aWorkforceHousing Conference in an effort to bring folks together to work on solving this problem. It began with a presentation from Todd Clarke, a commercial real-estate broker and dynamic speaker with a resumé longer than a Cheesecake Factory menu. Mr. Clarke helped identify our housing problem and quantified our housing shortage through gap analysis. By his estimates, Santa Fe would need to add 6,428 apartment units to meet 100 percent of the need. The demand demonstrated was for both luxury and affordable units and the income data that Mr. Clarke presented indicated that sustainable rents would be in the range of $1,388 to $2,083. He further identified the demography of the market as well as where geographically those units would be best built. The notion of “creating communities” and the “desirability of walkability” were noteworthy watchwords in the presentation.
MattO’Reilly fromthe City of Santa Fe affirmed the city’s support for the Midtown Local Innovation Corridor (LINC) project that the city adopted as Ordinance 2016-39 on Oct. 26, 2016. Its goal is to incentivize redevelopment of privately held property along the St. Michaels Drive corridor, now referred to as the Midtown LINC Overlay District. It is 378 acres of land idyllically located in the middle of the city and composed up of mainly parking lots and undeveloped land. The city is offering generous incentives to developers to create multifamily housing and com- merce in this crucial part of the city that has become stagnant in recent years.
Closing the conference was the renowned architect Manny Gonzalez, who discussed innovative housing projects that could work for Santa Fe. He highlighted the simplicity of zoning multifamily housing closer to residents’ activities and interests. Understanding that senior citizens enjoy spending time in places like libraries, cafés, and coffee shops, he displayed photographs of successful projects where apartments for seniors were built above a local library or a natural grocery store. Imagine creating affordable and luxury apartment buildings above recreational facilities like Salvador Perez and Fort Marcy. We don’t know a property manager in town that would have trouble finding occupants for those units.
The conference was a great success and hopefullymarks the beginning of a serious push to make Santa Fe home to the people whowork here. That fact of the matter is that to bring our workers home we must create affordable, desirable housing. Simple laws of supply and demand show that to increase affordable housing within the city limits, density must increase and there is inherent resistance to that. Butwhat if we all got behind doing density different and doing it better?
Roger andMelissa are Realtors at Keller Williams. Melissa is the 2017 president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. Call them at 505-699-3112, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow them on Twitter @CarsonandCarson and at www. facebook.com/carsonandcarson.santaferealestate