Santa Fe re­leases guide­lines for its mid­town cam­pus

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Andy Stiny astiny@sfnewmex­i­can.com

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.

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