Letter To The Editor: Will CIP Proposals Actually Produce Projected Benefits?

By EDWARD BIRNBAUM
Los Alamos

The presentations made at the last CIP public forum held by County Council could be categorized as either “business” focused or “recreational/quality of life” focused. 

Comments at both the forum and in articles in the Feb. 28 edition of the LA Monitor state that the business-focused proposals are much more likely to produce a return-on-investment and be more valuable to the community. However, I would like to point out that much of the value associated with these proposals is based on the assumption that these newly developed parcels of land, including the 20th Street extension, DP Road and Deacon Street, will be snapped up by developers or new businesses wanting to come to Los Alamos in order to build new commercial buildings and/or housing for local workers, resulting in significant increases in business revenue (and presumably profits), population and the GRT collected by the County.

The question that seems to have been ignored in this rush to make these projects a priority is, will these rosy predictions actually take place, and if so, in what timeframe?

I would have appreciated a reality check from Economic Vitality Administrator Greg Fisher and LACDC representatives as to why no one has purchased or leased the old Smith’s building, or why no one has yet leased the remaining vacant commercial building built by Smith’s, or is looking to build on the vacant land on the new Smith’s site. 

Aren’t there already utilities available there? Are there no other vacant buildings or empty lots with utilities available that these “interested” folks would be willing to consider, or is it a matter of price? If the latter, is there any evidence that the newly proposed land options will be available to new businesses at lower prices than what is already available?

Although I think all three of the “business” proposals would improve the overall Los Alamos business environment, it isn’t clear to me that any of these proposals will actually produce the projected benefits in the current Los Alamos business climate.

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