City leaders to discuss Midtown Campus Project in Santa Fe

[anvplayer video=”5150619″ station=”998122″]

SANTA FE, N.M. – It’s been more than five years since the large Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus has sat vacant. But, city leaders could finally decide on what will replace the once bustling area. 

The city’s governing body just sat down Wednesday for what’s expected to be a lengthy discussion on the future of that campus. 

City planners say the goal is to create a new city center in the heart of Santa Fe, and they believe the 64-acre location has a lot of potential.

Project managers are envisioning a community packed full of affordable housing, retail and office space, film production facilities, and plenty of parks and plazas. But getting to this point was not easy, the project faced a number of hurdles. 

“We feel the passion from the community, so we’re trying to honor that passion and reflect what the community wants,” said Matt Brown, former economic director for the City of Santa Fe. 

That’s been the goal from the beginning. The Midtown Campus Redevelopment Project got started in 2017, shortly after the Santa Fe University of Art and Design announced it was closing.

The public weighed in, and the city developed a vision for the space.

“We’re looking at something that in the future could turn into a new center for Santa Fe, with housing, with higher education, digital jobs, public spaces, parks. A really gorgeous new neighborhood in the geographical center of Santa Fe,” said Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber. 

The city signed a deal in 2020 with a Texas-based developer to streamline the project, but less than a year later – the company backed out because of COVID.

The city was back to square one, and after 14 months of uncertainty they decided to hit the gas pedal and re-zone the area.

“The resolution is a new marker in our progress on Midtown. We’ve had great community engagement, we had phenomenal staff work. Now we’re ready to hit the go button and move forward on Midtown,” said Webber. 

Enter the Midtown Campus master plan. City planners developed the elaborate set of guidelines for redeveloping the 64-acre campus. At least 30% of space will be dedicated to affordable housing, and several university buildings will be reused for business and film production space.

The plan also outlines how utilities, traffic, landscaping and other city services should be handled – and developers say it’s open-ended.

“What sense does it make to redevelop a vibrant part of the city and have it remain an island,” said Project Manager, Lee Logston. 

Developers agreed to tweak the plan after some pushback from nearby business owners, and the city planning’s commission gave their stamp of approval.

Santa Fe city leaders are only set to vote on adopting the master plan Wednesday night. If approved, the proposal will move through other city committees before a final mode in mid-December. There’s no timeline when construction might begin.