BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Pebble Labs announced Monday that it has asked Los Alamos County to cancel its public-private partnership with the County under a 2019 Local Economic Development Act agreement. At the time of the agreement, Pebble purchased its biolab building from the New Mexico Consortium.
Pebble Labs have proposed returning two parcels they received from the County at the Entrada Business Park under the LEDA agreement to facilitate its plans to build a biotech campus at Entrada but has cince decided to focus efforts on commercializing its science, a news release from Pebble states.
When the land was transferred to Pebble, the agreement was that Pebble over a 10-year period would build the biotech campus, create and maintain jobs based in the County and promote the County as a “good and desirable place to live and work”.
“The pandemic was a catalyst,” said Chris Courts, CFO of Pebble Labs. “Pebble was able to reorganize, restructure, and streamline the core business, and as a direct result, the company’s financial condition has never been stronger.”
He said rather than dedicating significant resources to building a campus project, Pebble is electing to return the two parcels of land to the County.
“The company is allocating all resources to scientific innovation, developing revenue-producing products, and most importantly, focusing on the Pebble team members who are instrumental in meeting those goals,” Courts said. “The company greatly appreciates the economic development assistance and partnership with the County, but without an active campaign to build the campus, the metrics change for both parties. As such, returning the land and canceling the economic development agreement is in the best interest of both Pebble and the County.”
Although no announcement has been made by the County, the Pebble news release indicates that Los Alamos County Council will consider an ordinance terminating the LEDA agreement and an Industrial Revenue Bond at an the July 27 Council meeting through an ordinance, with a public hearing slated for Aug. 10. It notes that Pebble will be required to pay off the bond. The corresponding LEDA agreement with the state will also need to be resolved.
The news release quotes County Manager Steve Lynn as saying the proposed ordinance provides an orderly path forward for both sides.
“The County gets the land back, and Pebble can concentrate on its science. We are grateful that Pebble Labs is still here, and we feel the proposed changes will help with its future success.”