Aztec approves business incubator location

Hannah Grover
This building at the corner of  South Church Avenue and East Chukka Street in Aztec will serve as the location of the city's new business incubator.

AZTEC – After spending more than two hours in a closed session Tuesday night, the City Commission here narrowly approved a lease-purchase agreement for a building that will house a planned business incubator.

Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the agreement to acquire a building currently owned by the Aztec Presbyterian Church located at 119 E. Chuska St. at the intersection of North Church Street behind Rubio's Restaurant.

"The church is really glad that the city's going to do this," said Bob Ramsey, the real estate agent listing the property.

Ramsey said the building was given to the church, and the church has never used it. It had previously been used as a lumber yard and as the Motor Vehicle Division for the city of Aztec.

On the side of the building facing Chuska Street, there is a sign reading "Pueblo Plaza." There are multiple entrances to the building, and it is able to be divided into multiple office spaces inside.

Once the city signs the agreement, it will be able to take occupancy of the more than 3,000-square-foot building.

The city will then improve the property in lieu of paying rent. After two years, it will have the option to buy the building outright.

Commissioners Katee McClure and Roberta Locke voted against the agreement.

This building located at 119 E. Chukka St. is owned by the Aztec Presbyterian Church but will be leased by the city of Aztec.

McClure said she voted no because she feels the city should focus on flood mitigation after the Aug. 25 floods caused more than $1 million in damage in town.

"Even as it is, it's going to cost $200,000 to $300,000 to get a hydrological study," she said.

The hydrological study would help the city come up with a plan to prevent future flooding.

"We had to start pulling money from other places, and I figured this would be a good place to start," she said.

McClure said the city already has various resources available for business owners, and the San Juan College incubator fulfills some of the needs that the hub would fill.

"I think it's a good project," she said. "I think it's a good idea. I would like to see it placed on the back burner."

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.