Midtown Monday for April 13, 2020
Like all Santa Feans, we continue to navigate the challenges of a new normal in life and work amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Part of that adjustment is balancing how we continue to move important things forward to prevent backslides and keep us well-positioned for a strong recovery, while allowing plenty of extra time, space and thoughtfulness in the process.
In that spirit, we’ve postponed the special public meeting that was set for tonight—Monday, April 13—to ensure that the City and developer have adequate time to review the terms of an agreement to proceed with predevelopment activities, and to provide a safe venue so that this important event is hosted in a way that is accessible to as many Santa Feans as possible.
Stay tuned for an announcement about the new date, which we plan to post this week, and for more information on how you can access and participate in the event.
WHAT IS THIS SPECIAL MEETING FOR?
At the rescheduled special meeting (date to be announced later this week) the Governing Body will vote on the Midtown District evaluation committee’s recommendation to begin negotiations between the City and the developer that ranked highest during the RFEI submission review process.
That recommendation was made by the evaluation committee on March 11, 2020. In the month since then, the Governing Body has been reviewing the RFEI submission packages and other materials on which the evaluation committee based their recommendation, asking questions of the developer, and deliberating the committee’s recommendation.
This vote is an important milestone in the Midtown predevelopment process. Approval will represent the shift from the two-year search and evaluation phase to the negotiations and master plan development phase, which could last up to a year or more.
Approval of the evaluation committee’s recommendation will also give the public a chance to meet the developer and their local partners at the special meeting, ask questions, and get a first look at some of the ideas and approaches the developer is recommending for the Midtown District. This virtual event will serve as the kick-off for the next round of public engagement, during which the City, developer, and the community will work in concert to develop a master plan for the Midtown District.
Plans and schedules for engagement activities are still being modified to adapt to current public health and economic concerns.
FAQ OF THE WEEK
Q: What happens during the exclusive negotiation agreement period? Does this mean the developer is the final choice for Midtown?
A: Approval by the Governing Body of the evaluation committee’s recommendation to enter into exclusive negotiations with the highest-scoring developer, the City and developer will enter into what’s called an Exclusive Negotiations Agreement (ENA). The ENA allows the City and developer to explore the terms by which they’ll work together and with the community to develop a master plan for the Midtown District’s redevelopment.
During this phase, the developer will survey the site, perform economic calculations, investigate any issues or surprises, engage the public to dive deeper into shared aspirations for the district, and work with the City to develop the terms for the transfer and development of the site.
The Governing Body’s approval to enter into an ENA does not constitute a final developer selection or the approval of a development plan. It’s an exploratory period where all parties to the process get to know each other to determine if they can in fact work together to develop the Midtown District within the land use parameters and development guidelines outlined by the community in 2018.
If at any time during this period the parties are unable to reach agreeable terms, the City may decide to begin the process again with the other respondents to the RFEI, or begin the solicitation process again—neither of which is a desirable outcome of the ENA period. The primary objective of this period is to establish a successful and collaborative public/private partnership between the City and the developer, which is necessary to achieve the vision, public policy, and community development objectives articulated by the people of Santa Fe.
Stay safe, stay at home, and stay tuned for more information about the upcoming special meeting and more Midtown news and information.
The City of Santa Fe’s Midtown Redevelopment Team
About This Effort
Our public mission, driven by our community and the Midtown Planning Guidelines, is to create the most creative location in the United States, where all Santa Fe residents and visitors can interact, collaborate, fuel passions, build skills, find opportunities, live equitably, and create a bright future—for ourselves, our families, and our greater community. Primary land uses for the Midtown site as identified by community members:
- Mixed-Use Development
- Residential (including affordable housing)
- Higher Education
- Arts, Culture & Entertainment
- Film & Multimedia Production
- Businesses in Creative Technology and Entrepreneurship
- Neighborhood serving Retail, Eateries, and Hospitality
- Community Health and Recreation
- Civic Facilities and Public Open Space
….and the requirement that all of these land uses be designed under a model of equitable and sustainable development. These community-driven land uses were used as the foundation for the Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) from master developers, which can be found here.