Hollywood-Style Studio Redevelopment Set for Santa Fe, NM


Hollywood’s studios are growing, but so is the competition.

Real estate development company PE Real Estate Holdings (PERE) is set to produce a large mixed-use film studio lot in New Mexico’s capital city, Commercial Observer has learned. The Phillip Gesue-run firm received approval from the City of Santa Fe to develop Aspect Studios with soundstages, housing, restaurants, retail outlets and more.

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The proposal fulfills the city’s request for proposals to redevelop a city-owned film production campus as part of the recently approved master plan to revive Santa Fe’s 64-acre Midtown District as a new city center. The deal includes the acquisition and development of a “Studio Village” by merging the city-owned site with an adjacent 8.6-acre production studios that PERE recently acquired.

Santa Fe’s entire Midtown District falls in a federally designated opportunity zone, and New York City-based PERE will use its opportunity zone fund to acquire and develop the project.

The new combined studios will encompass approximately 20 acres and become the largest studio in northern New Mexico, featuring eight soundstages totaling 120,000 square feet, nearly 350,000 square feet of production and support space across five buildings, as well as retail, residential and hospitality. PERE estimates the development will produce nearly $100 million of real estate and construction investment, and generate billions in film production spending over time.

PERE expects to begin work on the residential building on the campus in the spring, and the company is in discussions with several chefs and restaurateurs for the planned destination restaurant, a representative said.

The site is on the former Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus. Other than limited film production, it has been largely vacant since the institution declared bankruptcy and closed in 2018, prior to the city taking ownership.

The film industry is one of the fastest-growing economic drivers in New Mexico with $5.75 billion in aggregate production spending. 

Los Angeles-based Rios architecture firm designed Aspect Studios.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.