BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County Council will once more address a proposed ordinance adopting an economic developing an economic development project for public support of TNJLA LLC, the company that has proposed building a hotel and conference on the 20th Street Extension off Diamond Drive. The issue is on the agenda for Tuesday’s Council meeting at the Municipal Building which begins at 6 p.m.
This item was tabled at an Aug. 27 public hearing when it became clear that the majority of Council members were not prepared to support the project as presented. The proposed project drew extensive criticism from the public because of the County’s proposal to give TNJLA LLC. the 2.6 acres of land for the hotel and conference center rather than sell it. Economic development and tourism advocates, however, were adamant that the project fits in with their goals and would be of great benefit to the community.
Members of the public complained that adequate information on the proposed project had not been disseminated to the public and County staff in response have provided a website page devoted to the project at https://www.losalamosnm.us/government/projects/economic_development_projects_/20th_st_hotel_conference_ctr The proposed hotel would have some 86 rooms and the conference center would accommodate 250-300 people banquet style.
If Council opts to make amendments to the ordinance or the Project Participation Agreement which is part of the ordinance, then Council has to bring the amended ordinance back for consideration at a future Council meeting no earlier than seven days from Tuesday’s meeting for consideration.
According to agenda back-up documents, the current project includes the following key terms:
- County land will only be released to TNJLA upon entering into a Project Participation Agreement with the County;
- TNJLA must submit and be issued a Building Permit for new construction for the new hotel within 12 months of the Effective Date of the PPA;
- TNJLA will issue the County a Financial Guaranty in the form of a subordinated lien for the balance of the grant amount in decreasing value for the 10 year period of the PPA and a personal guaranty for the time period from the date of the County conveys the property to TNJLA until six months after the Certificate of Occupancy is issued for the hotel/conference center;
- TNJLA agrees to actively and continuously operate the hotel and conference center for the 10 year PPA term;
- TNJLA will create and maintain a minimum of 17 full time jobs.
Since the Aug. 27 meeting, several follow up conversations have been held with the developer to discuss potential changes to items highlighted at that meeting. According to Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess Monday, some potential changes are anticipated to be introduced as part of this continuation of the public hearing but had not yet been confirmed.