One-hundred percent leased.
Those are words the Tierra Concepts development team has found elusive since the heyday of 2007-08 at its bucolic, 47,427-square-foot Pacheco Park business enclave.
Brothers Eric and Kurt Faust and longtime friend Keith Gorges — all Tierra Concepts partners and Pacheco Park co-owners — built the facility at 1512 Pacheco St. with a look that is an homage to the neighboring railroad and the Pink Church Art Center next door.
They rejected the generic business park concept of bland, identical structures set in a sea of asphalt.
Each of the four buildings has prominent corrugated tin roofs and porticos contrasted with vertical, iron I-beams. Buildings have different colors: lavender and sage for one, a splash of lavender for another, adobe for the structure that houses Sweetwater Kitchen and rust red for the first one Tierra Concepts built.
“We went to great pains to make it look weathered and old,” Eric Faust said. “We washed the tin with a mild acid solution to take off the sheen.”
The 2-inch diameter trees planted in the early 2000s now are mature, giving the business park a literal park or residential ambience.
“Lots of shade,” Gorges commented.
“The landscaping is more residential,” Kurt Faust said. “[Tenants] are spending the day in an environment where they want to spend the day.”
By the start of 2007, Pacheco Park hit 100 percent occupancy for the next year. Then 2008 came along.
“First signs of recession trouble were an architect leaving at the end of the first quarter of 2008 and then a large construction company tenant having trouble paying rent beginning mid-2008,” Eric Faust recalled.
Occupancy slid to 70 percent at its lowest point in early 2010. Pacheco Park – and pretty much the rest of Santa Fe and New Mexico – has been recovering from the economic collapse ever since.
Pacheco Park briefly regained full leased status in 2015, but finally since June it appears 100 percent leased is for real (not counting the natural occasional comings and going of tenants).
Pacheco Park is tucked off main streets, plus it has a narrow vehicle entry. The trees further hide any obvious traces of a business park.
That suits Santa Fe by Design owners Kathy Fennema and Bob Schwarz just fine. They have been park tenants since 2003 — nearly the beginning — and they are the largest tenant with about 8,900 square feet in three units in two buildings.
Back at the start, there was only one building — Building D in back, some 300 feet across undeveloped dirt from Pacheco Street. Now Building D — with the Santa Fe by Design showroom and Tierra Concepts office — is entirely blocked from street view by Building C and trees.
That suits Fennema and Schwarz just fine, too. They deal in “decorative hardware and plumbing” — faucets, showers, bathtubs, sinks, door hardware.
“It’s a destination place,” Fennema said. “You have to want to shop here to be here. We love this space. We never grew out of it. It grew with us.”
Pacheco Park owners believe they have created a “community” rather than a business park. Its newest tenant also calls it a community. Victoria Sanchez opened her interior design business Victoria at Home in mid-July.
“With all the like-minded business at Pacheco Park, we have our own design community,” Sanchez said. “We have a walkable community here.”
Sanchez moved here in July 2018 after closing her interior design business in Alexandria, Va., and swearing off the 10-hour workdays, six and seven days a week. Then she met Tierra Concepts people at Santa Fe ShowHouse in fall and Pacheco Park tenants at the Santa Fe Home Show in spring.
“Once we were here, I got the bug and I wanted to be a part of this design community,” Sanchez said.
The Tierra Concepts trio purposely builds a tenant mix that leans toward construction and home improvement. They like to describe Pacheco Park as a “design campus.”
“There is quite a bit of cross-pollination at Pacheco Park,” said Saguna Severson, marketing director at Tierra Concepts. “For example, this year, for Tierra Concepts’ two Parade of Homes houses, we worked with Custom Window Coverings, Annie O’Carroll, Form + Function, NWI, Santa Fe By Design and Counter Intelligence (all Pacheco Park tenants). Plus, the Parade of Homes magazine is put out by Bella Media (a Pacheco Park tenant). And we all eat at Sweetwater many times a week. It is quite the gathering spot.”
The restaurant arrived six years ago. Previously, furniture stores occupied the house-like Building B.
Long ago, a pumice block manufacturer operated there, but by the time Tierra Concepts acquired the 2¼-acre site in 2001, it was vacant. They had acquired Taos Furniture and were paying lots in rent at Second Street Studios.
Gorges had driven up Pacheco Street and noticed the lot, and the Faust brothers acknowledged they needed their own home for Taos Furniture and Tierra Concepts, a luxury home builder. Tierra Concepts has built 160 homes across Santa Fe with 70 built at Las Campanas. Pacheco Park is their only business park.
The quirky design elements stem largely from the Faust brothers and Gorges.
“One of the things the three of us found is if you want it done right, you just have to do it yourself,” Kurt Faust said. “Between the three of us, we’re pretty much capable of figuring it out.”
But how do three guys agree to out-of-the-box design concepts?
“We appreciate each other enough to champion each other’s best ideas,” Kurt Faust said. “The best decisions have come from our biggest arguments.”