Subsidizing Big-Box Retail?

I wish policymakers would be consistent: if land is zoned for retail and big-box (whether that be Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or, heaven forbid, Wal-Mart), they should get out of the way if such development comes about. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be necessary for taxpayers to put up money for big box retail as is currently under discussion before Bernalillo County Commission in the case of a proposed shopping center at Coors and Rio Bravo.

The developers of this South Valley project are asking for $1.5 million from the County for infrastructure needs in something called a “LEDA” grant. Unfortunately (at least for the developers), according to the County’s own data, is not clear that the project fits under that type of grant (retail is not a permitted application for LEDA grants).

There is no doubt that the South Valley is “underserved” from a shopping perspective. That being the case, this development should be a very profitable opportunity for developers and thus, will likely move forward regardless of subsidies.