Marriott’s 20th Street Extension Project Falls Through – Los Alamos Reporter
BY MAYOR O’NEILL
Sources told the Los Alamos Reporter late last week that the 20e The street extension project fell through and is not moving forward. The project was to include the development of an 86-room Marriott hotel for extended stays with a conference center that could accommodate 250 to 300 people banquet style.
A company called TNJLA applied in August 2019 for assistance under the county’s economic development plan under the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) for the allocation of county-owned land on 20e Street extension consisting of six lots. The land to be donated is valued at $1,825,000.
The Los Alamos County Council was asked in an October 2021 email to grant an extension for the development and opening of the Marriott Town Place and Conference Center through August 31, 2024, one year later than that identified in the original project participation agreement approved in 2019. In a letter to Dan Ungerleider County Economic Development, Tushar Patel, president and CEO of the TNJ Group of Companies, said that with current circumstances, TNJ was unable to obtain funding for the project.
Patel said development costs are expected to be $3 million higher than forecast. He said the cost is expected to come down and the availability of supplies will improve by the second quarter of 2022, when the company will break ground. He noted that the company has already invested more than $500,000 in the project and remains committed to developing the hotel and conference center. The original LEDA agreement stipulated that the project was to be completed and fully opened for operation within 48 months of the effective date.
Council Chairman Randall Ryti told the Los Alamos Reporter on Saturday that he was told by county staff on May 23 that an agreement to terminate the LEDA was being discussed, then on June 13 he was informed of a draft ordinance release schedule associated with the Hotel and Conference Center.
“As with any order, there is an introduction and a hearing schedule(s). So far, I haven’t seen the schedule on a list of upcoming agenda items, but I expect to see it soon. Once the order is on the list for the upcoming agenda, the Board will be notified and may ask questions of staff,” Ryti said.
He noted that he highlights agenda items of interest to the community at regular Council meetings under the heading “Agenda Items”.
“I can’t say why there hasn’t been further notice of this possible action,” he said.
Ryti said the 20th Street lot was originally subdivided into six lots so there could be a variety of uses.
“I would like to get community feedback on potential uses which should include opportunities for local small businesses and possible development of public assets to support needed social services,” he said.
Ryti and former County Councilman Antonio Maggiore voted against the LEDA final agreement for the Marriott project in 2019.
Ungerleider said Monday afternoon that once the termination agreement has been signed by both parties, the county will go through the process of unwinding the LEDA agreement. He said the developer had agreed to hand over the project.
Ungerleider said when the developer asked for an extension last October it set off an alarm and he had actually been in conversation with the developer for some time trying to figure out how to move the deal forward or pull the plug. so the county can start making plans for another use of the property. The termination agreement now awaits County Executive Steven Lynne’s signature. Then, an order will be submitted to the County Council with the termination agreement for them to codify it.