New Mexico Fresh Foods' proposal to build an innovative cold-pressure processing facility for prepared foods in Santa Fe's Midtown district has been widely heralded as the jump-start to a new food economy in Santa Fe.
Now the company says it is once again considering locations in other cities, including Albuquerque.
New Mexico Fresh Foods founder Kelly Egolf tells SFR that recent assessments have unearthed unforeseen complications with the warehouse building at 1549 Sixth St. that had been slated to house the new processing facility.
"We have discovered that there are some building related problems that we are not going to be able to overcome," says Egolf. "The construction costs associated with converting that building for our uses is much higher than we anticipated."
In August, New Mexico Fresh Foods asked the city to approve an $18 million industrial revenue bond to help finance the purchase and renovation of the building. After City Council voted in favor of a resolution signaling its intent to approve the IRB, securing the Midtown location of the facility and all the rosy possibilities that came with it seemed almost like a sure thing.
New Mexico Fresh Foods is an evolution of Egolf's earlier venture, the Santa Fe-based Verde Food, and the city has worked hard to keep the company here as it grows. Staff from the city's Economic Development Department helped the company find a viable location in Santa Fe and apply for the IRB.
The new processing facility was forecast to generate 162 new jobs with benefits and an average salary of $43,000, as well as $21 million in new taxes, fees and revenues for the city. With the expected capacity to process nearly 500 million pounds of fresh food products in the first 10 years alone, the facility could generate as much as $2.5 billion of gross revenue for other food producers, Santa Fe’s Office for Business Growth Manager Fabian Trujillo told SFR in September.
Egolf says the building on Sixth Street was the only viable warehouse space in Santa Fe that could house the processing facility, and other options in Santa Fe would entail building from scratch.
Egolf says there is a particular location in Albuquerque under consideration, but adds that relocating in Santa Fe is also on the table.
"It's still too early to tell where the facility will ultimately end up," says Egolf, adding "we are still evaluating all options."