AP NEWS

Escape room finds home at SF Railyard

February 23, 2019

SANTA FE ? A Colorado-based escape room company is expected to move into the city-owned Santa Fe Railyard in the coming weeks.

Puzzah! signed a lease in the fall to occupy space in the Market Station building, whose tenants now include REI and city offices. Puzzah! Co-founder Ryan Pachmayer said the new escape room should open during the second week of March.

The company has a 10-year lease for approximately 3,000 square feet of space, confirmed Shona Martinez, an associate broker for Albuquerque’s Colliers International office. Martinez represented Puzzah! in the agreement.

Puzzah! began operations in 2014 and has locations in Denver and nearby Broomfield, Colo., that offer a variety of team challenges or scenarios that customers have 60 minutes to solve. According to Pachmayer, something that sets Puzzah! apart is its use of technology. He said its system includes lighting, sound effects, videos, animations and other features that help people solve puzzles.

“Whether you’re getting information on a video screen or an object changes itself or something magically appears on the wall, everything is integrated and we leverage that technology to make things a little more magical,” he explained.

The games can also can make changes based on the team, he said. If a family group with kids is moving at a slower pace, the system can provide help. For puzzle buffs solving clues more quickly, it can increase the difficulty or unlock hidden challenges.

Games will cost $25 a person.

The company was interested in opening a Santa Fe location because of similarities with its Denver-area locations, Pachmayer said. Both areas are arts-focused and attract tourists. “Even though (Santa Fe is) a unique place, it feels like a familiar market to expand into,” he said.

According to Richard Czoski, executive director of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp. ? the nonprofit that manages the Railyard for city government ?Puzzah! will take space in the middle of the Market Station building on the first floor. Czoski said the nonprofit’s board approved the Puzzah! lease because it believes an “immersive experience” would give people another reason to visit the Railyard.

“It’s a unique business that we haven’t had in the Railyard before and it’s entertainment-oriented, which we believe is a good thing for driving foot traffic,” he said.

The Market Station building has long been a trouble spot for the Railyard. The original developers filed for bankruptcy. Their lender, California-based Thorofare Capital, took over ownership of the building in early 2018.

Any new occupancy at Market Station is a positive thing, Czoski said. The building’s Verizon store is moving out in January. “Market Station still has a substantial amount of space to lease,” he said.