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Innovation in Santa Fe’s Baca Railyard as it nears completion

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Stephanie Sandston, second from right, walks away from two homes she designed in the Baca Street portion of the Santa Fe Railyard development during a tour of the area on Monday. (Eddie Moore/ Albuquerque Journal)

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Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber, left, tours the home that Michael Golino designed and built in the Baca Street portion of the Santa Fe Railyard. (Eddie Moore/ Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — City and community development officials Monday showed off residential, commercial and multiuse projects under construction in the Baca Street portion of the city-owned Santa Fe Railyard and announced all 18 parcels in the development have been leased.

Right now the last approved project, an 18-unit apartment complex called Baca Flats, is just an empty lot, but construction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2020.

Monday’s tour, kicked off by Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber, showcased a mix of eclectic projects that salvage abandoned structures and use industrial building materials in ways not permitted in Santa Fe’s historic district.

One prerequisite for housing developers in the Baca Railyard is that their properties must be long-term rentals. “There are too many shortterm rentals in Santa Fe. We need housing, not more Airbnb rentals,” said Richard Czoski, executive director of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp., the nonprofit that manages the Railyard under contract with city government.

The freedom to experiment in the Baca Railyard has attracted international architects such as Andres Paglayan and his wife Solange Serquis, who are the developers of Trailhead Terraces.

Scheduled for completion in January, the project includes five apartment units plus a commercial building with at least 1,000 square feet.

Last week, Paglayan and Serquis opened Cafecito, a coffee shop that is a tribute their home city of Buenos Aires. “This is a great area of town where one can experiment with modern styles not allowed in the historic district,” said Paglayan, who moved his firm’s office to Trailhead Terraces.

Another international architect represented in the Railyard is Devendra Contractor, who originally hails from India. A graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, Contractor is designing the New Mexico Museum of Art’s new Vladem Contemporary modern art offshoot.

Along with his partner Alina Boyko, Contractor is developing Shoofly Pie, a 6,000-square-foot project with two residential condos that have been sold and a 2,600-square-foot commercial space that has been leased to dhouz Design Studio.

Several of the Baca Railyard projects are live/work spaces that have been designed by their owners, although Michael Golino, who will live in one of three condos he designed and developed, quipped, “As soon as you say work, you’ve got to add three parking spaces.”

Developer Stephanie Sandston, who specializes in live/work spaces, has sold two residential condos that feature metal barrel roofs normally found in Quonset huts for a total of $750,000.

Still missing from the Baca Railyard is a traffic light at Railfan Road and Cerrillos Road to make it easier to exit the project. “Richard [Czoski] promises us it’s coming,” said Alan Burrus, one of the pioneering developers in the Baca Railyard who arrived “25 or 30 years ago.”

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