Roger Waterman had a good idea. It was called Bradbury Row and it was the best idea being pursued at the time. For that matter, it was one of the best ideas that has been proposed or pursued in Los Alamos in a very long time.
The idea was simple -- acquire the LA Apartments, rehab them, rent them, and use the rental incomes to finance building a retail/commercial portion fronting Central. This was a great idea -- create a classic mixed use development in a non-destructive manner while preserving buildings of a previous period of Los Alamos history and development. Had this gone forward, the total amount of the land space would have been brought into full economic use and the addition to Los Alamos in economic activity would have been substantial.
Unfortunately events conspired against Roger's very good idea.
But it is still a very good idea, and still very do-able -- a mixed use residential/retail/commercial development can still be done. It would provide housing for single adults while simultaneously creating a shopping promenade that would tie the Mari-Mac center with the older traditional center twixt 15th and 20th. If you have ever been to the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade, you know exactly what this would look like.
Reality Check -- which would give Los Alamos the greatest benefit on the LA apartment site: a Bradbury row style development, or a government office building which doesn't earn a dime nor in any consequential way contributes to the over-all economy?