Pebble Labs Seeks To Terminate Economic Development Agreement With Los Alamos County


Los Alamos County will be considering a request from Pebble Labs to cancel its public-private partnership with the County.

As part of the proposal, Pebble Labs would return two parcels of land to the County that was given to them under the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) in order to facilitate its original plans to build a biotech campus.

Pebble Labs has dropped plans to build the campus near its biolab on Entrada Drive. Instead, it intends to focus efforts on commercializing its science.

In July 2019, through a LEDA agreement, Los Alamos County agreed to transfer land to Pebble Labs in exchange for three commitments from Pebble Labs over a 10-year period: build the biotech campus, create and maintain jobs based in the County, and promote the County as a good and desirable place to live and work.

The transaction closed in September 2019 at the same time Pebble Labs bought its biolab building from the New Mexico Consortium. Soon thereafter, COVID-19 changed the world, and Pebble Labs took a hard look at its business model.

“The pandemic was a catalyst,” Pebble Labs CFO Chris Courts said. “Pebble was able to reorganize, restructure, and streamline the core business, and as a direct result, the company’s financial condition has never been stronger. Rather than dedicating significant resources to building a campus project, Pebble is electing to return the two parcels of land to the County.

“The company is allocating all resources to scientific innovation, developing revenue-producing products, and most importantly, focusing on the Pebble team members who are instrumental in meeting those goals. The company greatly appreciates the economic development assistance and partnership with the County, but without an active campaign to build the campus, the metrics change for both parties. As such, returning the land and canceling the economic development agreement is in the best interest of both Pebble and the County.”

Los Alamos County will consider an ordinance terminating the economic development agreement facilitated by LEDA and an Industrial Revenue Bond at an upcoming meeting of the County Council. Ordinance No. 709 terminates the project and accepts return of the two parcels of land from Pebble Labs. In addition, Pebble Labs will be required to redeem (pay off) the bond.

Pebble Labs is working with State and County officials to modify and continue the related State LEDA agreement.

“This proposed ordinance provides an orderly path forward for both sides,” County Manager Steven Lynne said. “The County gets the land back, and Pebble can concentrate on its science. We are grateful that Pebble Labs is still here, and we feel the proposed changes will help with its future success.”

The new ordinance is expected to be introduced July 27 with the public hearing proposed for Aug. 10.

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