Las Brisas Upgrades Considered by Urban Renewal Authority, Taco Johns to Re-Open


Las Brisas Restaurant

Las Brisas Restaurant

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board considered a request from Alfred Bergquist and Armando Bieza for funding to help remodel their restaurant, Las Brisas, at 300-302 South Main Street in Lamar this past Monday, May 11th.

Bergquist wants to continue to make improvements to the property which he purchased in 2013.  Funds from the Urban Redevelopment Authority would be used to replace the restaurant windows and install new LED lighting fixtures.  The request comes to $32,914.  Other improvements to the property include new grid ceiling tiles, tile and linoleum for the restaurant and restroom and other upgrades to comply with various codes.  Bergquist has already spent $20,000 on a new polyurethane roof, $1,000 on masonry and brick repair and $50,000 for the purchase of the building and will provide a match of $6,582 to the URA funds.  “The lights aren’t going to qualify for funding as we made a ruling on this when Parker Mechanical asked for funds,” said Mayor Roger Stagner.  He was referring to a decision made by the Authority earlier in the year to fund upgrades that would be permanent and not be replaceable from one owner to the next for a property.  The lighting request was $11,582.

Shawna Hodge, Urban Renewal Manager, said seventeen windows would be replaced but not with a heavy tint, “Because it’s a restaurant, we need to have some visibility from the street,” she explained, adding that there may be some coloration, but not so much that the interior can’t be seen from the outside.  Gerry Jenkins asked if the restrooms could be upgraded as well.  Hodge replied that some cosmetic and structural improvements could be made to the facilities, but there is an estimated 17 inches of concrete from the floor to the sewer line, and any work in that regard wouldn’t be feasible.  Administrator John Sutherland recommended that Hodge come back with an estimate anyway, on that line of work.  Hodge did say that hallways and doors leading to the bathrooms probably wouldn’t be widened because they were grandfathered in, due to the age of the structure.  The Board approved electrical work for a transformer pad along with the window work for $21,332.  Hodge said Bergquist has agreed to a 20% match on the grant and she would come back with additional information on the project.


Tacos, Formerly Taco Johns

Tacos, Formerly Taco Johns

She also noted that the former Taco Johns restaurant in Lamar has been sold and will re-open for business following the completion of some franchise required renovations.  She did not specify any timeline for an opening, but remarked that the new owners have had extensive experience in the Taco Johns franchise.  City Clerk, Linda Williams, stated there is a $7,000 lien against the property from the former owner, for back payment of utilities, mostly for electricity.  “About $1,100 is for water, sewer and garbage pick-up and the balance is for power,” she explained.  The council noted they were willing to accept about 50% off for a direct payment instead of using a collection agency, which Williams noted, would amount to partial payments over a longer time period.  She added this will be a win-win scenario, “There will be a new restaurant opened in town, people will be employed, the city will collect revenue from sales taxes and Lamar Light and Power will have a new commercial customer.” The matter of the past due account will be discussed by the Lamar Utilities Board.

By Russ Baldwin

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