Incoming Gov. Susana Martinez will have final say whether the state goes ahead with a land sale for a new "supercomplex" government office building south of the city on the Las Soleras Property.
Following a lengthy discussion, the Capitol Buildings Planning Commission today gave final apporival for the Las Soleras project contingent.
The developer agreed to give the state the right to terminate the deal in the next 90 days -- mid February. Martinez hasn't taken a stand on the project, but said through a spokesman last week that "expensive new buildings" might not serve the public at this point.
House Speaker Ben Lujan, who chairs the commission, said allowing the new administration a month and a half to decide on the future of the project removes any appearance of "movida" that some have used to describe the land deal.
Other legislators at the meeting, including Senate President pro-Tem Tim Jennings, Senate Republican leader Stuart Ingle and House GOP leader Tom Taylor, praised General Services Secretary Art Jaramillo for putting together a deal that would save the state money.
However, all three of the lawmakers questioned the impact it would have on the office vacancy rate in Santa Fe. Jennings predicted it would take at least 10 years to fill the office space that would be vacated by the Human Services Department to move to the "supercomplex."
"The inner core of your city will do nothing but deteriorate," Jennings said. Vacancies would lead to vandalism and "more and more slums," he said.
Under the current proposal to buy the land from a partnership headed by Albuquerque developers John Mahoney and Gordon "Skip" Skarsgard, the state would pay $6 million. The state also would give the partnership 4.4 acres of state land in the Galisteo Business Park, which is in southeastern Santa Fe. The price of land in the deal is $9.11 per square foot.
The developers would build a Rail Runner train station, roads, utility lines and other amenities such as sidewalks, landscaping and bicycle trails. The state would have an option on the 20 adjacent acres in the 710-acre Las Soleras property.
The state Board of Finance will discuss the financing of the proposed land transfer tomorrow.