SANTA FE — A local group called 311 Old Santa Fe, LLC has been chosen to lease and redevelop the Garrett’s Desert Inn property in downtown Santa Fe, State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced Thursday.
The company will pay an annual base rent of $300,000 for the property, which the State Land Office acquired in a trade in 2016 in a three-way deal involving Cochiti Pueblo and the former owners of Garrett’s.
The LLC also will pay a one-time bonus of $311,000. The term of the lease is 20 years with two optional 20-year renewal periods.
As the sole beneficiary of revenue from the 2.72-acre parcel, the University of New Mexico is expected to earn approximately $12,032,091 during the course of the initial 20-year lease period, the State Land Office’s announcement said. The Land Office manages state trust lands to generate funds for schools and other public entities.
Dunn first put the property, which is across the street from the Land Office headquarters at Old Santa Fe Trail and Alameda, out for proposals last year. But he disqualified the selected bidder over issues related to a required bond.
“I’m pleased to announce 311 Old Santa Fe, LLC as the successful bidder for this property, which is a tremendous asset for the community,” Dunn said in a statement. “As a company that operates hotels in Santa Fe and elsewhere I’m confident that they will ensure that this unique property remains an important presence in the city’s historic downtown area.”
The principals in the LLC include Barbara Salas, a former Santa Fe fire chief. Also in the group are Amisha Bhakta, Minaxi Patel, Veena Bhakta, Tapas Bhakta and Pintu Patel. Members of the LLC also own the Econo Lodge and Suites and two Comfort Inns in Santa Fe as well as out-of-state hotels.
“While we weren’t thrilled to have to go out to bid a second time on this project, the end result is actually very positive for this agency and UNM,” Dunn said.
Under the 310 Old Santa Fe proposal for Garrett’s, the 1950s-era inn’s exterior facade will remain largely the same, though a few cosmetic changes are planned
The inn’s interior will be gutted and remodeled to create “a boutique hotel.” A new name is also planned.
The 2.7-acre property was acquired in September of 2016 when Commissioner Dunn and the State Land Office brokered a land exchange with Cochiti Pueblo. In exchange for the property, Commissioner Dunn returned more than 9,000 acres of Cochiti ancestral lands, formerly the Dixon Apple Orchard. The pueblo purchased the 62-year-old inn from the Catron Family Trust and transferred the hotel’s ownership to the SLO.