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Swap would increase SF Midtown Campus development site

SANTA FE – The canvass for redevelopment of the city-owned Midtown Campus property could become larger, as city government and state of New Mexico are considering a land swap that would add to the former home of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, increasing the site from 64 to 84 acres.

The proposal, approved in a 4-0 vote of the City Council’s Public Works Committee Monday, would transfer 48.1 acres of city-owned property that includes the site of New Mexico Department of Public Safety headquarters to the state. In exchange, the city would receive five tracts bordering the Midtown property totalling 19.6 acres, plus $4.6 million, which represents the difference in the assessed values of the properties being transferred.

Kevin Kellogg, the city’s asset development director, said if the swap is approved, appraisals would again be done on all properties but he didn’t expect there to be much of a change. The swap needs the OK of the full City Council and on the state side, the governor, the Board of Finance and the Legislature.

The city recently received numerous “expressions of interest” for using the site for a variety of purposes, including proposals for hundreds of apartments, a tech center and a University of New Mexico film and digital technology program.

A Nov. 20 letter from interim City Manager Jarel LaPan-Hill to the director of the state’s Facilities Management Division says the city seeks the state property “in order to maximize development potential for the project and for better access to transportation infrastructure on Siringo Road.”

Three of the tracts the city would get are vacant, all of them bordering the north side of Siringo Road from Rancho Siringo Road to a property directly across the street from the parking lot for tennis courts at Santa Fe High School. Another parcel includes a building the state uses for storage, off Alumni Drive, which serves as the southern entrance to the campus at Yucca Street and Siringo, while the other tract includes land where now-demolished military barracks once stood.

The state would receive two parcels: a 36-acre piece of property at the northwest corner of Cerrillos Road and Jaguar Drive, which the Department of Public Safety now leases from the city, and a 12-acre parcel on the north side of Camino Entrada.

Thom Cole, a spokesman with the state’s General Services Department, said the state has had preliminary discussions about the land exchange, but, “We’ve made no commitments.”

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