SANTA FE, N.M. — The Santa Fe Board of Adjustment has approved the New Mexico School for the Arts’ request for a special use permit to relocate to the former Sanbusco Market Center, which was purchased for the school by an affiliated entity last year.
While the school’s pending move to Sanbusco is forcing numerous specialty stores or restaurants from the shopping center to relocate, the permit application approved unanimously by the board on Tuesday was supported by Fabian Trujillo, director of the city’s Economic Development Division. He concurred with an impact study commissioned by the school.
“The Sanbusco Center’s tenants are relocating to Santa Fe’s other retail spaces which (include) but are not limited to DeVargas Center and the Santa Fe Place mall,” wrote Trujillo in a memo.
“NMSA is not only re-purposing and revitalizing the Sanbusco Center; the NMSA expansion will increase retail occupancy rates elsewhere in Santa Fe. NMSA will provide a world-class environment where students from all over the New Mexico can be prepared for a career in the arts and where NMSA student performances can enrich an already vibrant arts and culture sector.”
Its plan, with calls for a total investment of more than $23 million, includes dormitory space for 25 students, 25 classrooms, a 10,000-square-foot auditorium and gallery space. The school is now located in the former St. Francis Cathedral School downtown.
The school contracted with O’Donnell Economics & Strategy, University of New Mexico economics professor Kelly O’Donnell, for the impact study. The report said that, when the school achieves a full, 300-student enrollment, expected by 2019, it will spend $5.9 million annually and account for 128 jobs. It should generate $214,000 in annual tax revenue from operations and about $2.2 million during construction on the 5.2-acre complex, the study says.
Trujillo quotes the report as saying that additional economic output factors, such as new visitors, students living and studying in the area, student families, college recruiters, public performances and other funding that the schools draws into Santa Fe, will raise the economic output projection for the school over the next 10 years to $80.3 million.