Santa Fe review board puts off demolition ruling

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A city notice sign describes a plan for razing and replacing part of the structures at Guadalupe and San Francisco streets that houses The Good Stuff store and other businesses. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE – The city’s Historic Districts Review Board has postponed action on a developer’s request to demolish part of the San Francisco Plaza complex in downtown Santa Fe.

Board members said that, before they can agree to razing buildings to make way for new development, they want planners to create a design that invokes the “essential streetscape.”

That includes incorporating features such as buildings close to the property line, preserving the plaza and avoiding, with any new development, the appearance of a single large complex instead of multiple structures, as currently exists. Board members were more mixed on the idea of adding two-story buildings.

The property belongs to a company owned by local developer Jeff Branch. Architect Wayne Lloyd represented the project at a recent meeting.

San Francisco Plaza is currently made up of four structures at the corner of San Francisco and Guadalupe streets. Developers want to demolish 325 San Francisco, which houses businesses including Ellie’s Yoberri Park, 329 San Francisco, where Thai Cafe is located, and 109 North Guadalupe, which houses The Spanish Table.

Plans call for keeping 321-323 San Francisco, home to Il Vicino and next to the Eldorado Hotel.

The H-Board did agree to retain non-contributing status for 109 Guadalupe and 329 San Francisco. Upgrading the historic designation of the buildings would likely have made it more difficult for developers to demolish and rebuild. The building at 325 San Francisco is also non-contributing. The structure at 321-323 San Francisco is listed as significant.

After the meeting, Lloyd expressed some unease with the idea of preserving features of non-contributing building. Nevertheless, Lloyd said he would comply with the board’s directions. It wasn’t immediately clear when the H-Board will review the case again.

A public hearing drew a handful of speakers, about evenly divided in favor of and against the project. Advocates included the owner of Thai Cafe.

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