ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The fight to keep a controversial development from going up in Los Ranchos has escalated. People have now filed a lawsuit against the village to stop the project. More than 200 affordable apartments, a grocery store, a brewery, and a restaurant are slated to go on the southeast corner of Osuna and 4th Street.

The lawsuit claims the village violated state law by selling each parcel of the 12.4-acre plot for $1. “The state constitution prohibits the state or local governments from making a donation, giving something away without getting something in return,” said Wade Jackson, Sutin, Thayer, Browne.

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Los Ranchos mayor Donald Lopez says the sale is completely legal because in 2007 the property was declared blighted. “there is no mistake, this has been planned, It’s been approved by the governing body of the village of Los Ranchos,” said Lopez.

The suit claims it never should have been categorized as such and argues that there is not and never was deteriorated structures on the plot. KRQE News 13 asked Mayor Lopez about that claim and he said, “That’s an easy thing to say now, 15 years later.”

If the judge rules in their favor, the sale of the land would be void meaning that Palindrome could no longer move forward with their plans to build. Right now there is a hold on the project until the end of the month.

Mayor Lopez says construction should begin in the next few months. He expects the first phase of the development, the apartments, to be finished by the end of next year. The rest of the project will be done over the course of five years.