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The end of the Santa Fe apartments drags on

October 22, 2014

A worker installs an alarm system in what is now only a storehouse of scrap metal.

The Santa Fe apartment building at 2975 Oak Street has now made the transition from being affordable housing to being a relic — an object surviving from an earlier time — with only historical and sentimental value.

When the market, i.e., a developer, decides a building’s productive life is over it is demolished and replaced. In all important respects that is what will happen to this 86-year-old building.

The owner, Aquilini Developments, will be tearing down the 14-unit, three-storey walk-up to build a 40-unit, 11-storey tower.

The final chapter of the Santa Fe will have to wait


Yesterday workers boarded up all the ground floor windows.

But because it does have historical and sentimental value, the plan, approved by the city on May 20, is to demolish the Santa Fe but preserve two of its concrete facades in place, as decoration for, or distraction from, the new apartment tower.

Towards that end the Santa Fe has been emptied of all its tenants — they were supposed to be out by October 3 — and yesterday some workers were boarding the windows and another was installing an alarm system.

Soon I expect the entire property will be fenced off. Then the building will sit empty for an unspecified time.

Twice yesterday I asked workers when they thought the gutting of the building would begin and twice I was told that it probably wouldn’t begin any time soon, hence the alarm system — to protect the valuable copper plumbing pipe from scrap metal hunters.

Unfortunately there are no curbside city-owned trees adjacent to the Santa Fe to provide clues — when either construction or demolition is imminent, any nearby city trees get a protective fencing of bright orange mesh. Click the images to enlarge them.


Last night the Santa Fe was empty and dark except for one light on the north side.

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