The year of activity | Deal

  The year of activity |  Deal

Midtown campus

The Santa Fe phenomenon went interstate in 2021, opening much larger attractions in Las Vegas, Nev., and Denver while also reopening an overhauled version of its local House of Eternal Return. The interactive entertainment juggernaut promises numerous more attractions across the country but has announced no specific future plans. Previously planned expansions in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., fell through.

Highlights

  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

  • It’s back to square one for the city of Santa Fe after Dallas-based KDC Real Estate Development & Investments/Cienda Partners pulled out of a master developer agreement for the property on St. Michael’s Drive, citing COVID-19 factors and discovering buildings at the former college campus were in worse condition than originally thought. This set the development project back three years, with new public outreach meetings planned to get a sense of what a greater share of the community wants at the site. The city acknowledged an outreach effort in 2018 mostly engaged older people and white residents.

Presbyterian Healthcare Services increased its minimum wage to $19 per hour in Santa Fe and $15 statewide; dozens of local businesses small and large also started paying all employees at least $15 an hour. The city of Santa Fe set a $15 minimum wage for city government employees but did not raise the base pay for workers in the private sector, which now stands at $12.32. The state announced an intention to raise the minimum for state employees to $15 per hour, but the statewide minimum is still set to max out at $12 in 2023.

The organization plans to build a new 54,000-square-foot facility on the block bounded by Grant Avenue, Marcy Street and Sheridan Street. The new museum would replace the former Safeway building at 123 Grant Ave. now occupied by the museum’s education center and Prima Title. It would sit next to the museum’s 1870s Otero-Bergere House, where museum administrative offices, a library, archives and research center are located.

COVID-19 and the worker shortage

The Great Resignation touched all corners of the country, including Santa Fe. Many people who lost their jobs in 2020 also have not returned to work, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lack of child care due to day care centers remaining closed. The restaurant sector was hit especially hard by the worker shortage, as was the medical sector, but “now hiring” signs were posted on windows and social media sites for a broad range of industries. New Mexico dropped its COVID-19 restrictions for businesses but remained one of a handful of states with stringent mask requirements for indoor public places. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also imposed a vaccination mandate on health care employees, teachers and other “high-risk” workers. In the private sector, Ten Thousand Waves/Izanami and the Lensic Performing Arts Center were the first high-profile Santa Fe businesses to require proof of vaccination for entry.

Bishop’s Lodge reopened after a yearslong construction project, with rooms priced at well over $1,000 a night. Behind the scenes, the resort’s ownership group filed for bankruptcy protection and the property was awarded to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Juniper Investment Advisors, one of the lenders to Bishop’s Lodge. Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14

Santa Fe’s largest movie theater complex closed in March 2020 like all theaters across the country in the early days of the pandemic, but it remains closed. Columbus Capital, which owns the theater building and the rest of San Isidro Plaza, locked Regal out for failure to pay rent since March 2020. Los Alamos National Laboratory

The national lab announced in March it signed a 10-year lease to acquire the Ark Plaza and Pollon Plaza buildings with a combined 77,856 square feet of space on Pacheco Street across from Smith’s Food & Drug. The lab intends to move 500 employees to Santa Fe in what was described as the “the largest job-relocation initiative in Santa Fe’s history” by lab Director Thom Mason. A month earlier, LANL leased the 28,000-square-foot Firestone Building that had housed Descartes Labs at North Guadalupe and West Alameda streets until the tech company sent everybody home to work during the pandemic. LANL expects to have about 75 employees at the Firestone Building. HomeGoods and Burlington

Santa Fe-based Outside magazine and its parent company, Outside Integrated Media, were sold to Pocket Outdoor Media in Boulder, Colo., which renamed its operation Outside Interactive. The magazine and staff remain in place in Santa Fe. Lawrence J. Burke had owned Outside since 1978. Avangrid and PNM

‘Outside’ magazine The national retailers opened at DeVargas Center and the College Plaza shopping center, respectively, filling two big-box vacancies in an era where large retailers are regularly closing as shoppers increasingly shift to online shopping.