The Siler Yard: Arts+Creativity Center began in 2012 when Creative Santa Fe engaged with Artspace to investigate the possibility of an affordable live/work rental project in Santa Fe. The Artspace Market Study paved the way for an analysis of potential sites for Siler Yard, which identified a portion of the 53 acres of city-owned land near 1218 Siler Road as the best fit. In 2013 New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing joined the project team to serve as the lead developer and applicant for affordable housing development funding. In August of 2015 the project was awarded a prestigious “Our Town” planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In April of 2016 the City of Santa Fe agreed to donate five acres of land to the project on 1218 Siler Road. In June of 2019 the project was allocated $10.5 million in Federal Low income Housing Tax Credits which will allow the project to move to construction in Spring of 2020.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Santa Fe is likely the highest need urban rental market area in the state. Vacancy rates have remained below 5% since 2014 leading to a 46% increase in market rate rents between 2014 and 2019.
Santa Fe’s high cost of housing and commercial spaces is pushing our workforce out of the city. The city currently lacks more than 3,000 units of affordable rental housing, rental vacancy rates are less than 3 percent for the third year in a row, pushing rental rates up over 30 percent in the last three years. As a result, Santa Fe is exporting its creative talent, young workers, and future community leaders instead of exporting their creative products and services. The affordability crisis in Santa Fe is not just about housing. The shortage of affordable space also affects artists, performers and creative workers looking for studio, performance, commercial and sales spaces.
WHAT IS THE SILER YARD: ARTS+CREATIVITY CENTER?
The Siler Yard: Arts + Creativity Center is a unique project that will combine affordable live/work rental space, access to tools, equipment and specialized work space, all amplified through on-site economic development training and development resources. The project represents eight years of planning and community outreach that interacted with 1000’s of Santa Feans. The project was designed through a facilitated participant design process that involved over 35 local creatives, artists, craftspeople, and emerging entrepreneurs.
The core of the project will be 65 units of income-tested affordable live/work rental housing in one, two, and three bedroom configurations. The housing will be colocated a shared resources building that will be home to MAKE Santa Fe that aims to include a cutting edge makerspace, exhibition and venue spaces, as well as areas for community activities, entrepreneurial training, and commercial micro-retail opportunities for both residents and the community at large. The housing component of the project will be net-zero energy, meaning it will generate enough solar electricity to offset its entire consumption as well as featuring cutting edge water and energy efficiency.
Located in the heart of a longstanding creative center in the city, the Siler Road Public Works Yard made perfect sense for the location of the project. Rather than attempting to generate a new creative hub in our community, Siler offers the opportunity to strengthen an existing creative identity and resources, while also providing long-term affordable space in an area facing pressure from gentrification and redevelopment.