The city of Santa Fe, N.M., has given preliminary approval for New York City–based PE Real Estate Holdings to develop what will be northern New Mexico’s largest film studio, called Aspect Studios.
The city had issued an RFP to redevelop a city-owned film production campus in Santa Fe’s Midtown District. PERE’s proposal calls for redeveloping the film campus into a mixed-use “Studio Village” and merging the city-owned site with the adjacent Midtown Santa Fe production studios, recently acquired by PERE.
The new combined studios will encompass about 20 acres and according to PERE would become the largest studio in northern New Mexico, featuring eight soundstages (include two of the largest in the Southwest) and nearly 350,000 square feet of production and support space across five buildings, in addition to retail, residential and hospitality uses.
READ ALSO: Behind Turnbridge’s $500M Industrial Park
PERE’s proposal is committed to sustainable design, including adaptive reuse of functionally obsolete buildings, solar farming, solar car ports, Level 3 EV car charging hubs for the community, rainwater recapture and community bicycle sharing.
The 64-acre Midtown District site is on the former campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, which has sat largely vacant since the school closed in 2018, because of financial issues, and the city took over ownership.
After years of design and community input with the city, a masterplan to revive the area as a new city center was drafted by Opticos, of Berkeley, Calif. Approved by the city in the fall of 2022, the masterplan features a town center in a walkable neighborhood that promotes economic opportunity, inclusiveness and sustainability. The city plans to release additional RFPs in the coming months seeking developers to redevelop the rest of the site.
Aspect Studios has been designed by RIOS, a multidisciplinary design collective based in Los Angeles. Other members of the development team include Bohanna Huston Engineering, interior design firm Built Design, planning consultants Jenkins and Gavin, Plan A Architecture, electrical engineer Molzen Corbin and MBS Lighting.
Lights, camera, development!
There’s been substantial news recently about movie studio developments, albeit in metros more accustomed to movie industry connections.
In May, Knickpoint Ventures topped out The Fields Studio, Chicago’s first purpose-built film studio. It totals 482,000 square feet and is part of the 1.5 million-square-foot redevelopment of the former Marshall Field & Co. warehouse. The project will include nine sound stages and will open in the first quarter of 2024.
In July, East End Studios secured $193 million in construction financing from Canyon Partners Real Estate and J.P. Morgan for Sunnyside Campus, a 275,000-square-foot media and content production facility in Queens, New York.
And at the end of August, a joint venture of Vornado Realty Trust, Hudson Pacific Properties, Blackstone, the City of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corp. announced plans to develop a $350 million film studio campus and public park extension in Manhattan’s Lower West Side. Construction on Sunset Pier 94 Studios will begin in the third quarter and is expected to wrap before the end of 2025. Royal Bank of Canada is providing most of the construction financing, which amounts to $183 million.