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Santa Fe Opera’s ‘Setting the Stage’ Campaign Undertakes $35 Million for Renovation and Expansion

14 May 2014, 4:31 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Since New York conductor John Crosby founded the company in 1956 and presented its first performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly a year later, The Santa Fe Opera has built up its influence becoming one of the world’s most highly regarded summer opera festivals. The facility it calls home is a major piece of real estate with a splendid fusion of nature through its dramatic adobe theater. The 200-acre facility has its own waste water treatment plant, a feature that no other opera company in the world can claim.

On the stage everything looks flawless—the props, the scenery, the costumes—but off-stage things are different. “There is a critical need to bring our backstage facilities into the 21st century,” said General Director Charles MacFay, and necessary steps toward achieving this goal are in progress. The opera will begin an ambitious three-year renovation program in September 2014, scheduled to be completed in time for the SFO’s 60th anniversary. The work has been carefully scheduled to not disrupt the opera seasons.

The daring project costs $35 million of which $24.3 million has been raised with help from the board of directors and friends of the company. The funds are being divided into three categories: $23 million will be spent on construction, $8 million reserved for upkeep and maintenance, and $4 million to support mainstage programming.

“This multi-year plan has been carefully thought out,” according to MacKay. “It follows the ‘Building a Sound Future’ campaign launched in 2006 during the company’s 50th anniversary season. That project addressed dining, rehearsal and practice facilities, and administrative offices.”

The work will be completed in three phases. Around 36,000 square feet will be renovated and more than 28,000 square feet added to current facilities.

The shop will be relocated and doubled in size, a covered food service will be added, the lavatories will almost double and they will be moved to more convenient locations, the dressing rooms will be refurbished and upgraded and the costume shop will be expanded. More importantly, the backstage and production areas will be renovated and enlarged. The parking lot will be repaved and enlarged and storage warehouses for sets and props will be built.

The architect hired for the new campaign, “Setting the Stage,” is New York-based Juan Matiz of Matiz Architecture & Design, formerly of Polshek Partners, the firm that designed the 1998 theater, and thus fully committed to maintaining the original aesthetic. Harris Consultants will oversee the construction.

Photos courtesy of The Santa Fe Opera.



Former Beach Waterpark Site Listed for Sale for $12.5M; Uptown Square Venture Closed on $3.6M Refinance for Mixed-Use Property

7 May 2014, 10:17 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

For 18 years the Beach Waterpark has been a staple of the summer for Albuquerque’s children. Unfortunately, it was shut down in 2005 after it received an “unsatisfactory” rating from the Environmental Health Department. A year later everything on site was auctioned off, and ever since the land has remained empty.

The 23-acre lot is located off North Interstate 25 and Montaño and, according to Albuquerque Business First, it is now listed for sale at a price appraised by Sedberry & Associates at $12.5 million. Its location makes it ideal for a mixed-use development, including retail, hotel, restaurants, entertainment, office, and showrooms, while its size makes it suitable for one or multiple developers.

“The restaurant users can be strategically placed along the frontage road with direct frontage road access and maximum visibility to 200,000 cars per day on I-25,” John Sedberry, president of  Sedberry & Associates reported.

On different news, Uptown Square Venture closed a refinance loan for a mixed-use building development with help from EverBank Commercial Real Estate Group. The amount of the transaction was of $3.6 million over a term of 25 years.

“In our business, speed, flexible loan terms and competitive rates are essential to our bottom line,” stated John Whisenant, managing partner, Uptown Square Venture. “Dave Christiansen of Berkadia and the team at EverBank not only made sure the deal closed on time despite market fluctuations, but also provided us with a structure that ensures we can continue to take advantage of other opportunities. We look forward to working with them again for our commercial mortgage needs.”



Nordstrom Rack Enters the Albuquerque Retail Market at Winrock Town Center

30 Apr 2014, 10:21 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Well-known Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. announced its plans to enter the Albuquerque market by opening a Nordstrom Rack at Winrock Town Center in the Uptown corridor. The retail store is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

“We’ve long heard from customers in New Mexico that they’d love to have a Nordstrom offering and we’re thrilled to bring a Nordstrom Rack to Albuquerque,” said Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, in a news release. “We believe Winrock Town Center represents a great mix of shopping and entertainment in the area and we look forward to opening our doors next fall.”

Located along Interstate 40, the 83-acre Winrock Town Center is ideally located for Albuquerque and also Santa Fe. Goodman Realty Group is the developer, and Pegasus Retail is exclusively managing the leasing process.

The new Nordstrom Rack store will encompass approximately 33,500 square feet, adding to the over 140 Nordstrom Racks in the U.S. This move represents an important gain for Winrock’s strategy of  adding restaurants, retail, the Regal IMAX theater, and, in the near future, high-end apartments, to its perimeter. Another retailer to enter Winrock is DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse), also opening its first store in New Mexico.

“Nordstrom Rack is a pivotal retailer in the New Mexico market, adding even more punch to our powerful retail, entertainment and restaurant lineup,” said Colette Wharton, asset manager for Goodman Realty Group.

Still under development, Winrock is said to eventually support 1.5 million square feet of large and small national and local retail. Moreover, 500,000 square feet of office space, 2,000 multifamily units, and boutique hotel, restaurants, and recreational facilities will complete the town center.



Geltmore’s $20M Mixed-Use Project in Downtown Albuquerque to Receive Tax Credit

16 Apr 2014, 10:54 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Albuquerque-based family-owned firm Geltmore LLC has scheduled to start construction by the end of the year on a mixed-use development at 205 Silver Avenue SW, between Second and Third Streets.

The project consists of a grocery store of 12,000 square feet, retail space, eateries, and 74 residential units.

The Imperial Building will be the result of a public-private partnership. Geltmore will work with YES Housing on the living spaces. The estimated cost for the project, which will occupy about one acre, is almost $20 million.

Recently, the project received a preliminary award for a 9 percent low income housing tax credit through the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, becoming the first urban mixed-use developments to receive funds from the NMMFA. David Silverman, principal at Geltmore, told Albuquerque Business First that they anticipate to receive the final award at the NNMFA’s May board meeting. The tax credits will be applied to the residential units.

The project has received the support of several city institutions, including the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency, Family & Community Services Department, Bernalillo County, the New Mexico Environmental Department and the NMMFA.  “It is very exciting that the grocery store, which will be the catalytic project for Downtown Albuquerque, will soon be a reality. We are confident that our city will have the opportunity to start shopping at the grocery store in the first quarter of 2016,” David Silverman added.

Photo courtesy of Geltmore LLC



Owner of La Posada Purchases La Castaneda Hotel

10 Apr 2014, 10:03 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Some rescue animals, other choose to rescue pieces of history. One such person is Allan Affeldt, famous for the spectacular renovation of one of the historic Harvey House hotels – La Posada in Winslow, Ariz. Recently Affeldt announced his purchase of the historic Castaneda Hotel.

Originally built by renowned immigrant Fred Harvey, the hotel has been on the market for the last 10 years, and for five years its listing agent has been Santa Fe’s DeAnne Ottoway of Sotheby’s. Although prohibited from making public the selling price, Ottoway told Albuquerque Journal a few months ago that Sotheby’s listed it at $450,000. Details about the final transaction have not been disclosed.

The hotel had opened on Jan. 1st, 1899 and represented the first of a new generation of grand Harvey House hotels. Its architectural style, Mission Revival, managed by California architects Frederic Louis Roehrig and A. Reinsch, was at that time new to New Mexico. The hotel on Railroad Avenue “sits a few miles from Route 66, but has become a common side trip for travelers exploring the 1926-37 alignment of the old road that looped to Santa Fe,” the route66news website says. In 1948 the hotel closed.

La Posada and La Castaneda are sister buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The $12 million renovation invested in La Posada turned it into what readers of Conde Nast magazine voted as theseventh best hotel in the Southwest. Renovating the Castaneda “would be catalytic for Las Vegas with its historic buildings and its amazing downtown,” Affeldt said in February.

Photo courtesy of Harvey Houses