Letter To The Editor: Why Is County Buying Buildings?

White Rock

In the Dec. 17 issue of the Los Alamos Daily Post on the front page, “Council considers buying CB Fox & Reel Deal Buildings” (link). In the article it speaks of the County wanting to purchase the Reel Deal Movie Building and the CB Fox building for $4 million. Am I the only one who thinks this is a monumentally bad idea?

Why does the County want to go into the real estate business? If the current owner is having problems attracting buyers or renters of the buildings or spaces, how does the County hope to do any better?

The only plan seems to be “Let’s buy it before anyone else does and then figure out how to make it work later”.

Is someone on the County board an old college roommate of the current owners? Is there some grand scheme at work behind closed doors we are not privy to?

Perhaps the County could work on other things instead, like affordable housing, schools, facilities and infrastructure. The Best Western hotel has been vacant for years and no one seems concerned about that property, in a town that has limited hotel rooms.

The former Smith’s grocery store and the old McDonald’s also sit unused. Los Alamos County is well known (infamous) for its long, difficult, drawn out process for permits and working with new businesses that are not the Lab.

Most city and county governments work with landowners and the community to help facilitate business moving in, by offering incentives, tax credits, access to loans, streamlining the permitting process, motivating investors, not by buying the buildings and trying to do it themselves.

I see this as well intentioned but misguided, potentially a huge hole that the County will have to dump loads of money into before any hope of a return.