The Santa Fe Governing Body on Wednesday night unanimously approved a 70-room hotel on the corner of West San Francisco and Sandoval streets despite concerns from the public and members of the city council.
The hotel, which is a project of Legacy Hospitality & Management LLC and which will mirror the architecture of the historic Lensic Performing Arts Center, will be located on the site of a parking lot across from the Eldorado Hotel & Spa.
The plan drew concern because of its proximity to the site of the former Santa Fe County Courthouse, which was designed by legendary architect John Gaw Meem, and because of the tight quarters behind the hotel as Sandoval circles past Grant Street into West Palace Avenue.
“There is a potential for a traffic nightmare,” said councilor Michael Garcia.
Other issues raised were whether there is ample space to accommodate both the hotel’s valet parking attendants and the tour buses that stack up behind the Lensic during concerts, as well as the removal of waste overnight.
Parking in the hotel will be valet-only and vehicles will be stored in a two-story underground parking garage with 180 parking spots.
Legacy currently operates the Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt hotels in downtown Santa Fe.
Jeff Seres of Seres Architecture tried to reassure councilors about traffic flow, noting that valet parking attendants will be able to turn only right entering and exiting the garage on Sandoval.
Stefanie Beninato, a city resident, asked for the project to be scaled back to three floors so that it doesn’t overshadow the historic courthouse.
Councilor Renee Villareal expressed concerns about parking and traffic flow, particularly during peak check-in times. The proposal calls for oversized vehicles to be taken by parking attendants to the Cathedral Parking Facility.
The site was previously slated for mixed use development, but those plans fell through during the Great Recession.