Sam Burnett, midtown property maintenance manager, told the Santa Fe City Council on Wednesday that 16 of the 23 buildings on the midtown campus either have limited or no potential for reuse.

More than half of the buildings on the midtown campus are being eyed for demolition, according to a presentation given to the Santa Fe City Council on Wednesday.

Sam Burnett, midtown property maintenance manager, told the council that 16 of the 23 buildings either have limited or no potential for reuse as the city discusses preliminary redevelopment plans for the 64-acre property.

The city recently announced that it was taking on a master developer role at the site after deciding to end its exclusive negotiating agreement with Dallas-based KDC Real Estate Development & Investments/Cienda Partners.

In a letter to the city, KDC/Cienda said a number of buildings on the site held no commercial value and would need to be demolished.

The city purchased the campus — the longtime home of the College of Santa Fe — from Christian Brothers of New Mexico in 2009 for around $30 million. The Santa Fe University of Art and Design later began operating on the property but closed in May 2018.

Of the 16 buildings that are being eyed for demolition, 10 are in limbo. Burnett said some of those buildings could be included in planning for the site as the city works through land use, but would likely have to be demolished. The other six have no value for reuse.

“The buildings won’t be seen in isolation,” said Daniel Hernandez, midtown project manager. “We will look at each one in the context of the overall plan that includes all the guidelines that we all know about.”

The city identified nine buildings that could be used for development, including the campus’ visual arts center, Garson Studio, Alexis Hall, the data bunker and the fitness center.

Garson Studio, named after Academy Award-winning actress Greer Garson, has been identified as a potential home of a film school and studio.

City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler asked for an update on how much the city is spending on overseeing midtown’s development.

She also asked for an inventory of items on campus.

“What are we spending today to get where we want to go?” Vigil Coppler asked. “I think we are leaving a big piece of information off the table.”

Economic Development Director Rich Brown said he would have to check whether his department can put an inventory list online for the public to see.

“We have had some instances where people have tried to case the midtown campus,” Brown said.

An update on assets at the site, including furniture and artwork, will be presented at a June 9 council meeting.

(20) comments

mark Coble

Government and bureaucrats in action. They have grown due to "pandemic". Pandemic of ignorance and fear mongering.

Frederick Jones

The city should of never bought the school. Sell it! Hopefully stop the neverending ideas that will drag on and on, only to be back at not finding a use for it. It sat there unused for too long. Poor city vision.

William Mee

Although they are brick, they are solid. Maybe some insulation and wiring for the internet will put them up to standard. The thing is throwing that stuff away needlessly fills the landfill at the cost of $1 a cubic foot. This is not a sustainable practice.

But the City raised the zoning to 5 stories so anything that remains in that footprint has to go because of the potential money to be made by a developer.

Nicoletta Munroe

A moral calculus advises that we re-open the traditional College of Santa Fe. Tuition will serve as the fiscal rescue that people are concerned with. The first step is to form a Board of Directors. The ethos of the school is a non-profit college that offers bachelor and master degrees in the humanities including film and creative writing.

Recruit students. The tuition of $25,000 a year with 1500 students will more than cover your annual debt service. Start a teacher pension fund. Hold a meeting in the library. Our community deserves to re-claim its local college.

Khal Spencer

The average tuition and fees at a private college (U.S. News and World Distort) is about $35,000. How do you propose to do it on the cheap, pay faculty, staff, and administrators, upgrade the facilities, provide scholarships for the needy, and still have money left over for debt service? I have a feeling that your proposal will likely leave the taxpayer on the hook for another failure, especially given UNM is only 50 miles away and the UNM-LA campus about 35 miles. Also, recall one reason we are stuck with this white elephant is because the previous two schools went belly up. We need to take a hint.

Rezone the land appropriately, sell the whole property, and leave it to the private sector to figure it out.

Khal Spencer

Really good article about the rise and fall of the CSF in this Pasatiempo from a few years back.


Remembering CSF: 1859-2009

O brothers, where art thou? A brief history of the College of Santa Fe

Jennifer Levin May 4, 2018 Updated May 4, 2018

Lupe Molina

Who would go? This city made clear long ago that young people are not its priority.

Kiki Martinez

I have always felt like this campus would be a perfect location for a midtown public park - personally I'd love to see a park with a man made lake or at least a man made pond with walking trails and gardens - a midtown location so we can all enjoy it. There are a lot of deep pockets in Santa Fe - the city could solicit for donations. As far as the nine buildings that could still be used developmentally, could those be partnered with SFCC or others to offer fun type classes, i.e, photography, cooking, silversmithing, drawing, etc.? The Higher Education Building is great, but the classes offered there are all aimed at degrees and not all of us want to drive all the way out to the main SFCC campus to take a fun type class. Something creative and enjoyable for all would be nice for a change.

Khal Spencer

A man-made lake in the middle of the desert during an intensified drought and climate change. Yep. Makes perfect sense.

David Ford


Stefanie Beninato

The staff last night said it could take 1-5 years for research and planning for Midtown--and it kept insisting only staff is driving the process....To those of you who think it is bleeding our city dry--it is....We should know if it went down the path the staff envisions what is the cost to the TAXPAYERS (not the city) given best and worst case scenarios in today's dollars and costs.

Chris Mechels

Send the bill to Alan Webber who had Big Dreams for this area. Seems they were fantasies.

Cathryn Miller

Stop the bleeding. Sell it as is now!

Khal Spencer

I think most of us would like that albatross removed from our back, ASAP. Cut the best deal and put the check in the bank.

Richard Reinders

So the city is looking at throwing good money after bad, let the new developer get a discount for doing the demo. The city is not in that business and will lose their shirt on the project.

David Ford

The Visual Arts Center was designed by famed architect Ricardo Legorreta so pleased to see that is not on the chopping block. However it does need some work as it has been neglected for many years.

Maria Bautista

Mr. Ford you are so correct, total negligence by Alan Webber.

David Ford

although you are quick to jump on the Anti-Webber bandwagon, this campus was being neglected long before our current mayor....

William Mee

I think I would agree that the University of Art and Design started the trend of not maintaining the campus and landscaping because they were a FOR PROFIT institution of higher education. But the City has completely stopped watering and uses it now for junked police cars.

Khal Spencer

I wonder if there is a way to do mixed-use, and preserve the really cool stuff from the former campus and build up housing or something on much of the parcel. Not being that familiar with the layout, I don't know, but if there were dorms and other teaching buildings that could be removed, then do some infill.

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