New Mercury headquarters is a go near Durango Mall

It has been a long and contentious process, but Mercury Payment Systems will finally break ground on its new corporate headquarters in a ceremony today after a lawsuit over the site delayed construction for a year.

The site will allow the credit-card processing company to expand and add about 350 new jobs. The building will hold about 700 employees, and the company plans to add 100 jobs this year, CEO Matt Taylor said.

The development of Mercury Village almost didnít happen after the Durango Mall filed a lawsuit against the developer, JRLT Ė a limited liability company Ė and the city of Durango, claiming the city had overstepped its jurisdiction in approving the development.

The mall said the village would bring too much traffic to the mallís parking lot and the access points would create a safety hazard.

Taylor called the mallís demands unreasonable and said they had nothing to do with safety.

The mall dropped its lawsuit in December with Denny Ehlers, an attorney for the mall, saying the owners wanted to put the controversy behind them and start the new year ďin a positive direction.Ē

The development is going through the final step of getting the building design approved by the cityís Design Review Board. Taylor said the board saw the initial concept when the project was approved last spring, but there are minor changes to be discussed.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mayor Christina Rinderle will be present at the ground-breaking, which starts at 10 a.m.

ďIím honored to do it because Iím so thrilled to be the mayor of a community that has such an innovative company that has us (Durango) as its headquarters,Ē Rinderle said.

Taylor said Mercury scheduled the ground-breaking around Bennetís visit because the senator is a champion of technology, sustainability and has advocated for making it easier for companies to do business in Colorado.

The village, which will include 325,000 square feet of office space and 75,800 square feet of retail space on 58 acres between the Durango Mall and the Animas River, is set to be occupied by the fall of 2013.

Mercury donated more than 30 acres of the land as open space to the city of Durango.

Construction wonít start until later this spring or summer, Rinderle said.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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