The La Posta Road area, south of Durango, is an appealing area for business growth, but the cost is causing some business owners to pause.
Not much room is left for development in Bodo Industrial Park, Animas Airpark or the Durango Tech Center, and that makes La Posta Road appealing, said Bob Wolff, a member of the La Posta Road Property Owners Association.
But businesses interested in building along La Posta Road must pay to bring the road and other infrastructure up to city standards to expand. And the costs of improvements are slowing the pace of development in the eyes of some business owners.
“It’s not going at the rate we had hoped,” said Jerry Zink, president of the La Posta Road Property Owners Association.
The city is requiring all businesses to build infrastructure, such as curbs and gutters, because eventually the city would like to annex the area, Wolff said.
Annexation would be positive for businesses because it would bring road maintenance and other city services, and it would offer needed room for expansion to more businesses.
“I think it’s important to have a balanced economy. The city of Durango is pretty short on areas that serve light industry,” Zink said.
In addition, the city sees value in the area because Bodo Industrial Park does not have significant development opportunities, and current businesses on La Posta Road need city services such as water and sewer to continue growing, said City Manager Ron LeBlanc.
The property owners had planned to form a metro district to help pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements that were estimated to cost $40 million over 20 years, Wolff said.
However, even if the property owners doubled their property taxes, they could be approved for only a $5 million bond, he said.
If property values continue to rise, eventually businesses would be able to fund infrastructure improvements, including water lines, sewer lines and better roads.
“It ain’t going to happen soon, and it ain’t going to happen fast,” Wolff said.
Recla Metals has been interested in building a location near Durango for four years, said Greg Fulks, a co-owner. Currently, the business is in the permitting process with the city and the county to build along La Posta Road.
The business sells steel products used in construction, including corrugated roofing and rebar, and it recycles scrap metal. Recla metals temporarily is located along U.S. Highway 160, about eight miles west of Bayfield, but Fulks would like to move the business to La Posta Road to expand operations.
Building curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bringing streets up to code could cost around $780 per linear foot. But Fulks is hoping to negotiate with local officials to see if fewer improvements would make sense for his business.
“We’re willing to make an investment into the community that should have some weight and importance,” he said.
Ted Hermesman III, general partner of Hermesman Family Partnership, would like to expand his facilities on La Posta Road to include mini-storage, but he is waiting to see what the expansion costs might be for neighboring businesses.
While he sees the value in annexation, he is concerned about making a commitment because the city has not given business owners a set timeline on annexation.
“They make no commitments, even though they want it built to a certain standard,” he said.
However, the city is extending a water main in 2015 that could help businesses with infrastructure needs. The city water main will run along La Posta Road through Animas Airpark up to Lake Nighthorse, where a new water-treatment plant to serve the city will be built.