While it may seem like not much has been going on since our last public event (Custom Car-nival) lots has been going on behind the scenes.
Our super talented design team has been working on a preliminary conceptual plans for the architectural design of the project. This work is being informed by our first design charrette and information gathered at public events. The team is working to develop a survey that focuses on key outstanding questions from the first charrette as well as a rough conceptual design for people to respond to in our second design charrette to be held at the end of November. This second charrette will focus on refining unit designs and site planning. We are using a feedback survey of our charrette participants to refine our approach at the next charrette and also to identify who was missing from the conversation to ensure really diverse representation among the design stakeholders.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out several surveys aimed at target audiences that will refine the information gathered in the first Artspace survey. The audiences include future potential residents of the project, students at SFCC, IAIA and SFUAD, our neighbors in the Siler area, and future users of the shared community assets and workspaces planned for the community.
Design team member Tim McDonald of Onion Flats, was in town in September to work with the team on sustainability goals for the project. Tim has been a leader in applying the principals of Passive House design (net-zero energy capable buildings) to affordable multi-family development. We’ll recap his visit in a separate blog post soon.
Partnership with MAKE Santa Fe
We’ve excited to announce a partnership with MAKE Santa Fe to serve as the anchor of the shared resources within the project. Currently located in the Meow Wolf Art Complex, MAKE brings a great set of skills, equipment, community survey data and experience with outreach and prototype programming to the project. Our partnership with MAKE will help strengthen our process as we refine what types of work space, tools, and other resources we bring to the non-residential component of the project.
Changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program will be the primary funding source of the live/work housing component of the project. The program is managed by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority who annually updates the methodology for allocating the funding. This year’s proposed update (released in September) was actually a massive redesign of the program which proposes to eliminate points for green building, and reallocate a massive amount of points to reducing project costs.
This is generally bad for the A+CC project as we are aiming for a very high level of sustainability within the project and development costs in Santa Fe are inherently higher than other areas of the state. Taken together, this means we will have to work extra hard to make the project competitive against projects coming from other areas of the state. We’ll be anxiously awaiting the finalized program update which is scheduled to be approved in mid-November, but are confident we can structure a competitive proposal, regardless of program changes.
Local Land Use Review Process
The project site on Siler Rd is currently zoned Industrial, and prior to our application for Low Income Housing Tax Credits, we need to secure appropriate zoning for mixed-use development on our five-acre parcel. This request for rezoning was heard by the City of Santa Fe Planning Commission this month, where it garnered a unanimous recommendation for approval to the City Council.
The City Council hearing is the second and final step, and though we do not expect strong opposition to the project, we want to have a hearty showing of support at the meeting to remind our elected leaders who this project is for and the broad constituency we have. We hope you can attend.
Save the Date: Rezoning Hearing at City Council December 14th 7pm (tentative time)
Upcoming NEA-Funded Outreach Projects
Siler: Here and Now
Part of our vision for community responsive development means understanding the context of where you working, responding to the needs in the neighborhood with development, and providing context for future residents and users, many of whom may not be familiar with the Siler neighborhood. We’re working with local photographer Kate Russell to document the people that live and work in the Siler neighborhood through environmental portraits. This work will culminate in a pop-up gallery show, as well as planned photo installation in the project once complete.
Kate is excited about the idea of mentoring young aspiring photographers through this process, particularly youth that may already have a connection to the Siler area. Please fill out a contact form if you, or someone you know is interested in mentoring with Kate.
Laura Zabel Lecture
We are really excited to announce that Laura Zabel, from Springboard for the Arts will be here in May 2017 to present a community lecture about their work, as well as to workshop with the A+CC project team around our prototype programming for entrepreneurial development. Springboard for the Arts mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life. They specialize in programs that help people in the creative sector develop professionally and financially. Laura was a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow, was named one of the 50 most influential people in the U.S. Nonprofit Arts, and received the 2012 Visionary Leader award from the MN Council of Nonprofits.