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.

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4 Replies to “Subsidizing Big-Box Retail?”

  1. It can become a slippery slope…and sounds like a stretch for the intended purposes of the grant funding source.

    However, such funding sources are typically appropriated at a fixed amount on the front end, and then competed for, via an application process in the follow-up. Cost benefit analysis tends to get neglected on many of these kinds of deals, but if net gain potential might exist, then its probably better than letting the grant funds sit idle…given the current rates of return for interest on fund balance…if allowable/applicable.

    Good to see someone out there asking the right questions…keep up the good work, Paul.

  2. LOOK! I’m tired of people comming up with stupid ways of preventing ANY kind of development in the metro. Everyone is complaing that there are no jobs and the economey is terrible. However, if they would stop being opposed to development in and around Albuquerque, then we would have more of the small and min-wage jobs that would flow that cash around NM. But, because of all these hippies that moved here from other cities around the country, the people of ABQ are missing out on the needs of ower own. JUST BUILD IT!!!!

    1. I’m all for development. I just don’t think taxpayers should pay for it when it is not necessary for them to do so.

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