The Arkansas Avenue side of the former Black Hole building shows signs of deterioration. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Los Alamos Reporter has been keeping the proposed 4.5-acre Arkansas Place development of 44 single-family attached four-story homes at 3901 and 4015 Arkansas Avenue on the radar since a site plan was approved by the Los Alamos Planning & Zoning Commission in February 2019.
In August 2021, the Reporter spoke to Chris Taylor, a partner in Rutherford Homes, LLC, the developer for the project, which is located on the site of the Black Hole building and the former site of the Omega Peace Church, which was demolished in 2018. Taylor told the Reporter the Black Hole building had been gutted but that strategically it would not be demolished until later in the project. At that time, he said a substantial amount of water and sewer infrastructure had been put in place and that he expected vertical construction to being within the following six weeks.
Also in August, County Planning Manager Bryce Ternet said the developer was still undergoing the initial ground clearance/preparation phase and that a building permit application for any vertical development on the site has not yet been submitted.
The Reporter reached out last week to Los Alamos County Fire Marshall Wendy Servey to ask about the Black Hole building which appears to be deteriorating rapidly. Although the project has been fenced off for some time, there does not appear to be any sign of new vertical construction or demolition going on. Servey said according to County Chief Building Official David Martinez, the developer now has an active demolition permit through his office which is valid for six months and that the previous permit had expired. It is unknown if a construction permit has yet been obtained.
Servey said she had visited the Black Hole site and it was locked so she had walked around and surveyed the exterior. She was able to make contact with Harold Standly at the developer’s office.
“He said he understands the community’s anxiousness to get the building down, as he wants it down too. He is waiting on a few more supplies to start construction and demo of the black hole.,” Servey said. “His best estimate is that he projects that the Black Hole will started to be taken down in 12 weeks.”
She noted that her office will also be keeping the property on her radar.