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Tech company buys building in Los Alamos

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By Tris DeRoma

A tech startup that manufactures alternative energy products has decided to put down roots in Los Alamos by buying the building it leases at 134 Eastgate Drive.

The council agreed to let the county extend a zero interest, $325,000 loan to the company, called UbiQD, to help them with the purchase. Loan payments will be deferred for three years.

According to the county, the property is valued at $650,000. As part of the agreement, UbiQD will also contribute $65,000 of its own funds to the purchase, and also hold a mortgage with the building’s owner for the remaining $260,000.

UbiQD CEO Hunter McDaniel presented his proposal to Los Alamos County Council July 25.

McDaniel told the council his company has invested heavily in the property so far, and has plans to make further renovations to the building to expand its manufacturing operations.

“We’re at this point where we want to purchase the building so we can invest in it,” McDaniel said. “Getting a loan through conventional channels like a bank is fairly difficult, so we’re asking the county to invest in our future, which is investing in the county’s future.”

The county is allowed to help the company through the New Mexico LEDA (Local Economic Development Act), an act that allows for public support of private entities.

“This LEDA project is one way of insuring that we stay here, McDaniel said. “If we didn’t get the money from the county as a loan, most likely we have to get the money from investors who are most likely outside the state. They are most often pushing for relocating to a major city. By purchasing the building, we are laying down our roots and proving we can do it here in Los Alamos.”

Before the council voted, McDaniel gave them a presentation on what the company does. One of their chief projects is the creation of quantum dot technology, which can be applied to glass and other surfaces to generate electricity.
UbiQD has plans to also use the technology in security, design, safety and technology. UbiQD is on track to make $600,000 in profit this year, McDaniel told the council.

“We are not just about research and grants, we are actually selling product today,” McDaniels said.

Members of the business community came out to recommend council approve the loan.

Patrick Sullivan said, “We are here tonight to express our strong support for this LEDA application for UbiQD. This is exactly the type of company we want in our community,” Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation’s executive director Patrick Sullivan said. “It’s a young, growing company that’s made very smart business decisions so far. One of the risk factors we see with these types of applications is the ability to identify how well managed a company is, how well thought out is their growth potential and how are they approaching these markets.”
After some discussion, council passed the motion seven to zero.

“I’d like to make a point that this is a loan, and that the county will be paid back as time goes on and as you succeed,” Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary said at the meeting. “I think loaning money in this way to businesses like yours is a really positive way to support the growth of our business sector.”