New, leaner HSFF sell­ing its houses

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - WATERMATTERS - By Paul Wei­de­man

The His­toric Santa Fe Foun­da­tion, founded in 1961 in re­ac­tion to the de­struc­tion of the 19th-cen­tury adobe Nus­baum House to cre­ate a park­ing lot, pur­chased its first his­toric build­ing in 1974. Over the next three decades, the foun­da­tion bought six more in line with its mis­sion “to own, pre­serve and pro­tect his­toric prop­er­ties and re­sources of Santa Fe and en­vi­rons and to pro­vide his­toric preser­va­tion ed­u­ca­tion.”

But since 2014, four of its seven build­ings have been sold and the HSFF mis­sion was al­tered to read, “Our mis­sion is to pre­serve, pro­tect and pro­mote the his­toric prop­er­ties and di­verse cul­tural her­itage of the Santa Fe area, and to ed­u­cate the pub­lic about Santa Fe’s his­tory and the im­por­tance of preser­va­tion.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tion in­tends to main­tain own­er­ship of the Canyon Road build­ing known as El Zaguan (aka the James L. John­son House), which holds its head­quar­ters as well as five apart­ments it rents to artists and­writ­ers. But its re­main­ing two build­ings, the Felipe B. Del­gado House and the Roque Tudesqui House, are on the mar­ket.

PeteWarzel, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the foun­da­tion, said own­er­ship of the seven prop­er­ties “be­came a true bur­den” af­ter the 2008 fi­nan­cial crash. “In 2015, we spent ap­prox­i­mately $220,000 in re­pairs, 2016 was ap­prox­i­mately $125,000, and 2017 was $131,000, on all prop­er­ties.” The bud­get be­came much more of a con­cern with the va­cancy of the Del­gado House.

Ex­cept for two rel­a­tively short pe­ri­ods when it was rented to two art gal­leries, the late-19th-cen­tu­ryWest Palace Av­enue house with the lovely sec­ond-floor bal­cony porch (dec­o­rated with a mod­il­lion cor­nice and Ital­ianate brack­ets) has been va­cant since 2012. At that time, it was va­cated by First Na­tional Bank of Santa Fe, which had rented the build­ing for more than 30 years.

That rental money— about $8,000 a month— was a sig­nif­i­cant part of the HSFF rev­enue bud­get. Ear­lier this year, the Oliver P. Hovey House on Grant Av­enue lost its long­time ten­ant. The sub­trac­tion of rental rev­enues, as well as ris­ing costs of taxes, in­sur­ance, and main­te­nance amounted to a sit­u­a­tion that was de­scribed by a foun­da­tion board mem­ber with some un­der­state­ment: “Our fi­nan­cial model is no longer sus­tain­able.”

Warzel pointed out that this anx­i­ety over foun­da­tion fi­nances is noth­ing new. In 1982, the His­toric Santa Fe Foun­da­tion’s Jim Adler wrote about the “great re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, de­ci­sions and com­mit­ments in time, money, and ef­fort” re­sult­ing from the own­er­ship of what was then just three his­toric houses. The board, he said, “will soon have to ad­dress the ques­tion of whether or not the over­all pur­pose of the Foun­da­tion and, in­deed, of his­toric preser­va­tion it­self, can best be served by con­tin­u­ing to own and main­tain all three prop­er­ties.”

In Oc­to­ber, both­Warzel and board of di­rec­tors chair­man Alan “Mac” Wat­son em­pha­sized that the HSFF de­ci­sion to di­vest it­self of prop­er­ties was made to strengthen both the im­pact and the reach of theHis­toric Santa Fe Foun­da­tion.

Two of the sold prop­er­ties were the Char­lot­teWhite/ Boris Gilbert­son House (pre­vi­ously known as the Dona­ciano Vigil House) and the ad­join­ing Garcia House on Alto Street. Warzel said these, and now also the Hovey House “have new own­ers who are se­ri­ous stew­ards of the prop­er­ties, sup­port­ive of the ease­ments and work­ing with us on any ren­o­va­tions they want to do on the build­ings.” He added that the pro­ceeds from sales of HSFF prop­er­ties are be­ing in­vested and the earn­ings will be fo­cused on the preser­va­tion and restora­tion of his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture and on the group’s ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach pro­gram.

The foun­da­tion will con­tinue its more than a dozen ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing the Faith and John Gaw Meem Preser­va­tion Trades In­tern­ship; the his­toric-preser­va­tion ease­ment pro­gram; the an­nual Her­itage Preser­va­tion Awards that it co-spon­sors with the City of Santa Fe His­toric Preser­va­tion Divi­sion and the Old Santa Fe As­so­ci­a­tion; and the Reg­is­ter of Re­sourcesWor­thy of Preser­va­tion plaque pro­gram.

The reg­is­ter was the first pro­gram es­tab­lished by HSFF at its found­ing and to­day it in­cludes 99 build­ings and cul­tural land­scapes. Among them are the Ace­quia Madre; the 18th-cen­tury Gre­go­rio Cre­spín House, Arthur Boyle House, and “Old­est House”; the Man­der­field Mau­soleum; the Olive Rush Stu­dio; Saint Cather­ine In­dian School; and Jail House Ranch in Nambé.

“We are about to start a sec­ond phase of our plan­ning at the board, look­ing at our wish list, put­ting fi­nan­cials to each, and pri­or­i­tiz­ing as to im­ple­men­ta­tion,” Warzel said. One of the goals is a new col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico School of Ar­chi­tec­ture & Plan­ning and the StateHis­toric Preser­va­tion Of­fice to hire grad­u­ate stu­dents to do re­search and write nom­i­na­tions for ad­di­tions to the Reg­is­ter of Re­sources Wor­thy of Preser­va­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the His­toric Santa Fe Foun­da­tion and mem­ber­ships, see www.his­toric­santafe. org or call 505-983-2567

PHO­TOS THIS PAGE COUR­TESY HIS­TORIC SANTA FE FOUN­DA­TION

The Pinck­ney R. Tully House (now known as the Oliver P. Hovey House) was the first to be pur­chased by the His­toric Santa Fe Foun­da­tion, back in 1974. It is shown here be­fore restora­tion of the (his­tor­i­cally cor­rect) faux-brick paint job and (below) the south wall adobes be­fore plas­ter­ing and paint­ing, both in the late 1970s

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