Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Will Happen to Las Soleras Super Complex?

As the Bill Richardson administration sinks slowly in the west, one project that's stirred a little controversy locally still is in motion. That's the planned government office "super complex" planned to be built at Las Soleras.

My story about the project is in today's New Mexican.

The deal to purchase land, located off south Cerrillos Road near I-25, has gone through almost all the hoops. The attorney general has been reviewing the financial arrangements for month and might have a decision as early as Monday when the Legislature's Capitol Building Planning Commission meets. The state Board of Finance needs to sign off also. They're meeting this week too.

A spokesman for the state General Services Department told me Friday that he expects the land purchase  to be complete by the end of the year.

But Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has yet to get behind the project. Her spokesman told me Friday "The new budget realities put spending such as this in a new context. Gov.-elect Martinez's commitment is to meet the needs of all New Mexicans. Expensive new buildings may not meet those criteria as we focus on key priorities in the state. We are monitoring and evaluating this issue."

The initial phase, a complex to house the Human Services and Children, Youth & Families departments, would cost an estimated $80 million. The Legislature already has  approved bond sales for this phase. (The funds won't come out of the state general fund, so it wouldn't affect the budget.) Future phases of the project would bring the cost of the project up to $200 million.

We'll keep following this.