BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County Council was asked in an October 14 email to provide an extension for the development and opening of the Marriott Town Place and Conference Center to Aug. 31, 2024, a year later than identified in the original Project Participation Agreement approved in 2019.
Tushar Patel, president and CEO of the TNJ Group of Companies, writing to County Economic Development Director Dan Ungerleiter, said that with the current cost estimates, TNJ is unable to obtain financing for the project.
“Costs have gone up significantly since we started this project. Our development costs are $3 million higher than what was projected. We expect cost to come down and he supply to improve by Q2 (the second quarter) of 2022, at which time we will break ground,” Patel said. “COVID has disrupted our schedule for the project but we are committed to developing the hotel and conference center as soon as the costs come down and financing is obtained for the project.:
He noted that the company has already invested more than $500,000 in the project and remains committed to developing the hotel and conference center.
There has been no item on the Council agenda to date to discuss the proposed extension. In fact, only when Council Chair Randall Ryti asked at the November 16 Council meeting during the County Manager’s Report agenda item if the date about the completion date being changed from 2023 to 2024, was the matter addressed. County Manager Steven Lynne said staff is still evaluating the request so at this point it hasn’t changed.
“It would require a formal Council action for us to change that so we’re still investigating and it’s something we would have to bring to Council,” Lynne said.
The original agreement states that TNJLA shall complete the project and be fully open for operation within 48 months of the effective date. The project is to include an 86 room Marriott Towne Place Suites hotel and a conference to accommodate 250-300 people banquet style, and a minimum of 1,800 square feet of stand-alone food and and beverage space.
Under the agreement the County committed to turning over real property comprised of six developed lots on the 20th Street Extension off Trinity Drive to TNJ valued at $1.8 million.
County Manager Lynne said Monday that the request for an extension is not on the agenda for discussion by County Council as there has not been a request by a Councilor to add it.