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I would like to see a cooperative market in Los Alamos and I believe that such a business would be successful, but a partnership with the county is not necessary in order to make it happen. As part of their proposal, the cooperative market developers would like us to pay for an underground parking structure at the Trinity and 15th site in addition to the cost of the new municipal building itself.
The developers propose an elaborate municipal building at more than 44,000 square feet, which is much larger than what is needed to accommodate our staff, especially since the judicial area has been removed from it. The old municipal building was 21,000 square feet and this space served the needs of our community quite well for many years, including judicial functions.
I have not heard a valid reason why the developers couldn’t build the cooperative market on their own, and I would like to see them do so because a new commercial building with a restaurant and market would greatly improve the appearance of the Trinity and 15th area and generate more economic activity there. The county will receive GRT revenue from the commercial building regardless of whether it is next to the new municipal building or not.
A new municipal building at Trinity and 15th would deprive us of land that could be used in the future for commercial development, involving for instance a new small technology company, like IMTech, which brought new high paying jobs into our community when it located here a few years ago.
For this reason we should build our new municipal building on land currently owned by the county, and I believe that we could build a new municipal building with about 21,000 square feet of space at the site of the old building while staying within the current budget of $15 million for this project.
Council should stay within this budget, and building an overly elaborate municipal building with more than 44,000 square feet and an underground parking structure would cause us to spend about $25 million on the project. In my opinion this is about $10 million too much and it is not a good deal for the county.
County Council candidate