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On the Blight Called Las Colinas


Like a scab on the northern horizon of Santa Fe’s historic district, the luxury condominium complex called Las Colinas has only gotten bigger and uglier since last reported here, a monument to those whose only interest in this town is to milk it for everything it’s worth. A ridge top where only trees and sky once appeared has been defaced forever — or at least for the century or so it will take for the buildings to decompose.

Is anyone really going to buy these things? The Eastside is now glutted with condo projects, happily approved by City Council. All are now competing for buyers who may not exist — two new developments on East Alameda and two on Canyon Road, including the project under way at the old Manderfield School.

What will happen if the buyers don’t come? Does the City have a plan in place to seize abandoned projects and convert them, perhaps, to subsidized housing for teachers or police officers? They would be far more welcome than the likely buyers of the blight called Las Colinas — people who come here because it is fashionable. People who don’t vote in our elections. People whose charity, if they are charitable, goes to the Opera and other entertainment for the rich.

Las Colinas is apparently nearing completion. Last night it was lit up like a jack-o’-lantern haunting what had been a beautiful dark emptiness.


George Johnson
The Santa Fe Review