Loretto Chapel owners fight to build multi-purpose building next to chapel

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A battle in Santa Fe over plans to put up a building that would include shops and homes in the church’s courtyard continues as the chapel’s owners fight back.

“We’re trying to build a four-story mixed-use building in Downtown Santa Fe,” said Maggie Andersson, manager of the Loretto Chapel.

Andersson and her family, who own the chapel and the surrounding property, have been trying to get this project going for 20 years. The family wants to place the building right next to the Santa Fe landmark, but they ran into problems with the city after submitting their application.

“They denied us because they felt we did not meet the exception criteria for a height exception.”

Now, Andersson is appealing the city’s decision. On top of the delays from the city, local business owners also don’t see the need for the building. Ray Coriz has been selling his homemade jewelry in front of the chapel for more than 22 years. He’s afraid the building will hide the view of the chapel and hurt his business.

“If they’re going to have somewhere for me to sell, you know. All of us that have been here for a while,” said Coriz.

Andersson insists the building would not take away from the beauty of the neighborhood, but that it would be another draw for the city.

“Our family has cared for the chapel for 45 years, for its spiritual, architectural, its historical health, and that of the city. Of course, that is absolutely our number one priority. I think this will add to it, not detract from it,” she said.

If the plans are eventually approved, the building would also include a room for weddings and an underground parking garage. Andersson says they would do construction in the winter or early spring to avoid disrupting tourists and neighbors.

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