Santa Fe, NM North Railyard Redevelopment Initiative
Santa Fe, with a population of about 68,000, focuses much of its economic development and entertainment on the approximately 1 million tourists that visit per year. Starting in the 1930s, Santa Fe redeveloped the downtown historic plaza in order to draw more tourists to the urban core. However, city residents wanted commercial and entertainment to serve the needs of the local residents. In this pursuit, the Santa Fe Railyard became a center of transit-oriented development that supports local business and represents the community's culture.
City of Santa Fe General Plan was updated to reflect a shift towards community planning and participation. Committed to community priorities, in 1995, the City and Mayor Debbie Jaramillo purchased 50 acres of the Railyard with financing support from the Trust for Public Lands (TPL). In 2000, the TPL and the City approved a 13-acre conservation easement agreement for a plaza, alameda, and a 10-acre park that is complete with a performance green, playground, and bike and pedestrian trails.In 1991, the Catellus Corporation released a plan to redevelop the Railyard property into a hub of national retail stores and hotel chains in order to maximize revenues as quickly as possible. However, local residents felt it was more important to support local business and the needs of the local community. Neighbors from the Guadalupe District, one of the oldest Hispanic neighborhoods in the City located near the Railyard, organized the Neighborhood Coalition to help defeat Catellus' proposal. In 1994, the
Commissioned by the City of Santa Fe, a regional planning firm Design Workshop prepared the 2001 Master Plan and Design Guidelines. These guidelines lay the foundation for the development of the Railyard's mixed-use public transportation center. In 2002, the City transferred redevelopment responsibility of the 35 acres designated for mixed-use development in the North Railyard to Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation (SFRCC), a New Mexico non-profit organization. The City decided that this shift in responsibility will allow funds to remain publically owned and flow directly back into the Railyard more efficiently. The City, in partnership with the SFRCC, developed a program that reduces the leasing costs to local business to lower the financial barriers to entry and gives local businesses a chance to compete in the market. Currently, only 6% of Santa Fe Railyard tenants are national businesses, while 68% of tenants are community non-profits and locally owned businesses.
The Railyard is not only an economic development center, but also serves as Santa Fe's public transportation hub. The New Mexico Railrunner Express, a 7 day a week commuter heavy-rail transportation service between Belen, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is run out of the Railyard station. The commuter rail links Santa Fe to the Albuquerque metro area and is used by residents to reach various intermediate stops in addition to Santa Fe and Albuquerque downtown areas.
Additional information on this case study:
Santa Fe Railyard Master Plan and Design Guidelines
Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation
The Santa Fe Railyard
Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment Overview
Category: Urban Form
Issue: Transit-Oriented Development
Community Type: Urban
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico