First cement slab laid on Entrada Project

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By Jennifer Garcia

County projects seem to be abundant these days. The call for Capital Improvement Projects proved that there are a lot of ideas floating around out there.

One idea that’s been in the works for a couple of years is the Entrada Business Park. Not much has been said about the project lately, and so far it’s trudged along silently.

Rick Reiss, Managing Member of Main Gate LLC has been working on getting businesses to move into the park. So far, he’s secured a deal with Holiday Inn Express.

The plan is for the hotel to move to Entrada from its current location on Trinity Drive.

“We have some good news and good things are coming up. We actually have a lot going on,” Reiss said. So far, Quest Development who is developing the hotel has poured the slab for the 86-room structure. In addition, the pool has been dug and plumbing for it is currently being worked on.

Reiss said the framing for the hotel should begin within the next couple of weeks.

“When the framing starts, it will go rapidly,” he said. According to Reiss, Quest Development is using local contractors and the hotel expects to open sometime in September.

Reiss said that the project started with just one tenant, which was the Holiday Inn Express.

“They were champions in that they stayed with us as long as they did. Our initial contract with them was signed in January 2007. They’ve been with us almost two years,” he said.

“Entrada’s infrastructure, sidewalks, curbs and streets will be completed by April 30. We’ve already got electrical and some of the other infrastructures run. We have a project underway to develop 8,500 square feet of office space in a planned LEED green building,” Reiss commented.

He would not give the name of the contractor or developer, stating that negotiations are still underway. However, he did say that once the deal is secured, that information will be prominently displayed near Entrada, just like the Holiday Inn Express information, which is currently visible to passersby.

Los Alamos County Engineer Ted Garcia said that the county has very little to do with the development of the Entrada project.

“It’s mostly a private development. We have staff overseeing construction of the roads and utility infrastructure,” he said. “Our goal is to have it all completed by the end of April and that includes storm drain work, curb and gutters, paving and signage,” Garcia continued. He also said that the contractor, SG Western, is building detention ponds to control storm water.

If all goes according to plan, another eatery could crop up in close vicinity to De Colores Restaurant.  “We’re working on a plan for a restaurant which would be across from De Colores. That will serve as the amenity for the business park and the community. That was the original plan in 2005. We may get to that in spite of how long it took us to get here,” Reiss commented.

He also said that in an effort to be kind to the environment, three different studies were done so that assurance could be given that no trees would be cut down and the project would not be built near any archaeological sites.

Though the national economic slump had reduced phone calls of interest to Reiss from possible tenants, he said that the calls are beginning to flow in once again.

“We’re getting phone calls. People are excited about having a private development come up,” Reiss said.

Putting this project together has not all been smooth sailing, however. Reiss said entrance points were a major undertaking for the Entrada project and a lot of different entities were involved in the final decision.

“We worked with the county on the Airport Basin access, with HyTec on their access and of course, we were interested in access for ourselves. We had to coordinate all of that with the state. The highway is busy and we wanted to make it as efficient and safe as possible,” he said.

In the end, it was decided that the Entrada project would have one entrance point.

Reiss said the he currently has three lots that are already defined and immediately available.

“We have the capacity to do a lot from the size of a half acre up to four or five acres. We have a commitment on one that’s not a defined acre right now. We also have some other interested parties, but nothing solid yet,” he explained.

He also made clear the fact that Entrada Business Park will be used as a light industrial park and will not feature any retailers.

“It’s not going to be a grocery store and there’s not going to be a gas station down there. The goal of county council was to provide an area to support technical transfer and to diversify the economy away from the lab,” he continued.

Reiss said that he’s very excited about where the project stands today.

“I remain optimistic that this will be a great project. We have some pretty high standards for the buildings. I think this will be attractive and make a good first impression to people coming into town,” he said.