SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a new chapter for Santa Fe, aimed at getting a lot more business and housing on the south side of the city. Plans that have been years in the making are finally taking shape. “It’s a food desert out there on that side of town; there’s not many grocery stores or food options. There’s a large portion of workforce folks who could potentially fill jobs on that side of town,” said Noah Berke, planning manager with Wilson & Company, Inc.

The City of Santa Fe has big dreams for a 30-acre plot of land, which sits empty on the south side of the city. “This is about 30 acres that we’re looking at to develop, and calling it El Lucero Crossing,” said Johanna Nelson, director of the Office of Economic Development for the City of Santa Fe.

Back in 2015, the city signed a 25-year lease agreement with the State Land Office with the purpose of using the area for economic development. After several years of changes in administration and personnel, the plan is moving forward. “This is proposed to be a multi-use area that is going to house about 15 acres of commercial opportunity as well as about six to eight acres of affordable housing,” Nelson said.

A fire station is set to go in first; then playing fields, an office and industrial park, retail and commercial space, and housing among other things. “We have a lot of exciting opportunities in bioscience, film, food manufacturing; and we’re hoping that this can be a hub to really meet the needs of entrepreneurs,” Nelson said.

But, there’s still more work to do including an economic feasibility study, and zoning changes to let businesses start up there. If all goes to plan, those close to the project say they’ll begin by building out critical infrastructure.

“The first phase of that potentially would be doing the infrastructure so that you can enter the site and circulate through the site and have all the utilities,” Berke said, “We could see dirt moving within the next year.”

Berke said the first phase of infrastructure build-out could cost the city about 48 million dollars. Developers are aiming for a five-year build-out plan, which includes about 160 affordable housing units.