One down, two to go.

The city of Santa Fe wrapped its conceptual phase for future uses of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus Thursday afternoon, revealing its list of priorities for the city-owned property.

If the City Council and the mayor approve the planning guidelines later this month, they'll become the first part of the city's blueprint for the Midtown property that's tucked away behind Cerrillos Road between Siringo Road and St. Michael's Drive.

In January, the city began a months-long brainstorming session for the soon-to-be-vacant buildings and land. The school formally vacated the campus last month. City staff held a handful of community meetings and solicited ideas for the property from thousands of Santa Feans and five different teams.

The guidelines are set to go before the governing body on July 25—and two city committees next week—include five ranked, main preferences for the property:

  1. Higher education
  2. Housing
  3. Film and emerging media
  4. Arts and creativity
  5. New business and innovation

"I don't think it can be emphasized too much that, as the mayor said, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," City Councilor Signe Lindell said at an afternoon news conference with Mayor Alan Webber and city Asset Development Director Matt O'Reilly.

Matt O’Reilly says the city is free to enter into partnerships while the planning process is underway. | Matt Grubs
Matt O’Reilly says the city is free to enter into partnerships while the planning process is underway. | Matt Grubs | Matt Grubs

When the College of Santa Fe closed in 2009, the city bought the 64-acre campus for almost $30 million. It will pay $2.2 million in debt service every year until 2036. Until the art school closed last month, it had been covering much, if not all, of the city's mortgage.

O'Reilly said the city has budgeted roughly $2.8 million to be able to cover the mortgage and operational costs of the property through June 2019, though it hopes to be able to defray at least some of that through partnerships that fit some or all of the property's preferred uses.

"We're not the only ones that see this as a really phenomenal place," Webber said of ongoing efforts to fill the space at the campus.

O'Reilly said a film is currently shooting at the property's Garson Studios and another project is using some of the now-vacant buildings. The city hopes to secure a television production as soon as film crews are done at the studios.

After the city adopts the guidelines, the next step is crafting requests for contracts to complete a land use plan and an economic study for the campus.

Included in the planning guidelines are 10 additional priorities that are ranked as well, including a tech hub and modernized library using the Fogelson Library building on the property.

Other ideas, such as city government, a single-family housing development, retail space, a homeless shelter and a dog park were classified by the city as "non-preferred" uses.

The final step in the process, of course, is implementing the chosen plan.