The ivy-covered current home of Vital Spaces artist studios on Otero Street could be converted into a 31-room downtown hotel, according to documents filed with the city of Santa Fe.
Property owners Marc Bertram and Andy Duettra will seek initial approval Tuesday night from the city's Historic Districts Review Board to renovate and expand the Territorial Revival-style building at 220 Otero St. It was built in 1953 as the local office for construction giant Robert E. McKee General Contractor, which also built Los Alamos National Laboratory buildings in the 1940s and 1950s and other prominent structures in Santa Fe.
Duettra and Bertram were not available for comment Monday on the proposed project.
The 8,589-square-foot building originally had a Washington Street address, and the paved walkway from Washington remains in place. The building is closer to Otero but set back by about 200 feet.
The plans call for remodeling the interior of the office building and adding a two-story, 11,175-square-foot expansion on what is now a parking lot in the property’s northwest corner.
Otero Partners LLC — under which Bertram and Duettra own the property — also proposes adding a 994-square-foot casita.
The building is more than 50 years old but has had numerous major alterations that “have negatively affected the historic integrity of the building,” leading to a recommendation to designate it as a "noncontributing" structure in the downtown and east-side historic district, according to the city’s Historic Cultural Properties Inventory.
Architectural Alliance in Santa Fe is the architect for the project.
Bertram owns Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque.
In Santa Fe, he owns the Lincoln Place offices and is an owner of SF Brown Inc./Zia Station LLC, the developer of the 21-acre residential/commercial project planned near the Zia Road Rail Runner station.
Duettra owns AdobeStar Properties, which owns and manages short-term rentals.
Robert E. McKee General Contractor was headquartered in El Paso but had a significant Santa Fe division that served as the administrative center for the company’s operations in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee, according to the city Historic Preservation Division.
Along with the original LANL structures, McKee built the old St. Vincent Hospital (today’s Drury Plaza Hotel), the state Capitol, and additions to the former Capitol, which is now the Bataan Memorial Building.
McKee also built the 1950 downtown Santa Fe High School that is today’s City Hall.
McKee remained in the Washington/Otero office building until relocating staff to Atlanta in 1967.
Since March 2019, Vital Spaces has managed 14 studios there for local artists.
“We know they are applying for permits,” Vital Spaces Executive Director Hannah Yohalem said. “Our plan is to be there for as long as possible.”