Orion Center promises 1,000+ aerospace, manufacturing jobs for Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More than 1,000 new manufacturing and aerospace jobs could be on the way for Albuquerque as part of a planned “Orion Center” development at the Sunport. The city’s Environmental Planning Commission approved a site plan for the proposed development Thursday outlining a series of massive new buildings that are expected to be used by the Theia Corporation.

Fully realized, the Theia Corporation is aiming to build a two-million-square-foot light-manufacturing building on the site. That building would sit next to a proposed 1.3-million square foot office and engineering building, referred to as “the combo building.”

A privately-owned company, Theia Corp. is proposing to build the Orion Center on the decommissioned runway at Gibson and Girard. Now called the “Aviation Center of Excellence Business Park,” the city-owned property has sat mostly vacant since 2012 aside from a sign and some paved roadways through the dirt patch.

The corporation behind the project says its goal is to get 1000 workers building and working on satellite technology in Albuquerque 30 months from now, or summer 2023. According to a video on the company’s website, the Theia Group is aiming to build “a satellite network” that will “digitally image the entire Earth at a half-meter resolution twice per second.”

“This project is such a big deal we haven’t wanted to talk about it that much because we basically don’t want to jinx it, we hope this is going to happen, we believe it’s going to happen,“ Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said at a news conference Thursday. “It’s getting very, very real but we also know that if this actually plays Out the way the company intends it to, this is going to be literally a transformative project for Central New Mexico.”

The Theia Group eventually hopes to hire up to 2,500 permanent workers at the Orion project site. The project’s construction is also expected to create more jobs. Alongside the large buildings, Theia Group says the Orion Center will be home to a new food hall, hotel, seven-floor parking garage, and an employee daycare center.

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