It’s go time at the former Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus.

The city of Santa Fe has selected two national consultants to help plan what should happen to the 66.5 acres of midtown Santa Fe that remain mostly vacant since the closure of the college in 2018. Strategic Economics of Berkeley, Calif., will help with economic analysis and urban planning, while U3 Advisors of Philadelphia will work on engaging citizens for ideas for the property that can be translated into policy. Contracts for the two firms need to be approved by the Santa Fe City Council. The planning contract is budgeted around $325,000, while the engagement contract comes in at $65,000.

At the same time, the city is seeking expressions of interest for the actual redevelopment of the midtown property — in other words, what sorts of businesses might want to locate there, what developers might want to put in housing, or what universities or schools are thinking about opening up classes on the campus. Remember, citizens already have placed education and housing as top priorities for the property.

These are incremental moves toward a larger goal, and any movement is good movement on this project. Still, it’s important for people to remember that the heavy lift on the redevelopment of the campus — just what happens on the property, who it will affect and when it will be completed — is the litmus test by which city leaders will be judged. And definitive answers to those questions remain months and years in the future.

Still, allow us a bit of excitement.

Santa Fe now has the opportunity to take the core of its city and reimagine it in a way that improves the economy, increases educational offerings and provides more places for people to live. As Mayor Alan Webber is so fond of saying, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” He is right.

Already, there are hints of development opportunities that could happen at the campus.

As we all know, the former College of Santa Fe and then the Santa Fe University of Art and Design were home to Garson Studios, location for countless films, commercials and TV shows. The soundstages still operate, and with the film business thriving in New Mexico, it’s not out of bounds to think more film and digital work will become part of the mix at the old college campus. This is an opportunity to create and nourish an industry that can put down roots in New Mexico, providing jobs for generations.

Webber and New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keyes already are discussing a city-state land swap to add state-owned property next to the campus for the project. It’s a positive sign to see the city and state working together on the best ways to develop the property — a booming Santa Fe economy, after all, will only help the state’s bottom line. This sort of cooperation is good for New Mexico.

Education will be a big part of the mix. The area, which already has a middle school, high school and the Higher Education Center, as well as nearby elementary schools, is place where learning is concentrated. Building on those strengths not only makes sense; it’s what residents want.

Perhaps the future will include an expanded University of New Mexico presence or more in-person offerings from Santa Fe Community College, courses that are convenient to workers who would take classes at lunch or right after work. We’re sure there will be out-of-area schools that want to be in Santa Fe, even if it’s just to give their students a block of classes in the Southwest, whether to study filmmaking, art or Native cultures.

Then there are the intangibles to figure out. The city has to decide how best to use the Fogelson Library or Greer Garson Theatre Center. Both are valuable assets that can’t be allowed to disintegrate over months, then years, of planning. What will be their best use? And what does Santa Fe most need?

The city’s Facilities Division has been working diligently to prepare some buildings to be torn down and repairing others to make sure they remain sturdy. Making all of this easier was a smart financial move by city officials — they refinanced the campus debt to free up another $500,000 a year. That means fewer dollars from the general fund going to pay debt. That’s good work by financial officers at the city.

Now comes the fun part, the imagining of what can be, as well as the unveiling of the different dreams — whether by the small entrepreneur who believes a bookstore and coffee shop will thrive, or the developer who has plotted out houses and walking trails, or the fledgling digital company that plans to put New Mexico on the map for creativity.

We do envision plenty of trees planted, a way to keep green space in the middle of urban Santa Fe. We see walkabout areas, as well a mix of homes, businesses and learning spaces. We trust that in the redevelopment, the rundown areas along St. Michael’s Drive will be spiffed up — a sort of rising waters lift all boats — leading eventually to fewer ugly parking lots in front, better bike paths and sidewalks, and, yes, more trees.

So much is possible.

Very soon we will begin seeing a clearer picture of just who wants to be a part of the developing midtown campus. We can hardly wait.

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