Albuquerque breaks from Orion Center satellite manufacturing plant, 1000+ jobs

Business

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The huge satellite company deal Mayor Tim Keller celebrated as a gamechanger for Albuquerque is dead in the water. The Washington D.C.-based company was supposed to build a sprawling campus next to the Albuquerque International Sunport.


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That bustling Orion Center where the company was going to build satellites was supposed to be located at Girard Blvd. and Gibson Blvd. but the City of Albuquerque says the deal is dead. A year ago, Mayor Keller said, “If this actually plays out the way the company intends it to, this will be a transformative project for central New Mexico.”

The Theia Corporation was supposed to break ground this year on the Orion Center and have more than a thousand workers a year-and-a-half from now. The 116-acre space would have a plant to build satellites, research, and testing facility, offices, gym, food hall, hotel, and a seven-floor parking structure.

A New York investment firm that put at least $200 million into Theia Group is suing the startup company. They are demanding their money back, claiming Theia Group has done nothing to get its business going. 

According to federal documents a Manhattan judge put Theia Group in receivership, meaning an outsider will run the company now with the purpose of paying back its lenders. The only real asset Theia Group has is its FCC license to launch and operate satellites, which is worth a fortune. Without it, Theia Group would be kaput. 

Even when the mayor announced it was coming to Albuquerque last year, he hedged his bets a little. “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. It’s getting very, very real,” Keller said. 

Theia Group wanted to launch 112 Earth-imaging satellites to form a network around the globe.

The City of Albuquerque issued the following statement:

We are always looking at opportunities to create good jobs in Albuquerque and the Sunport is a key asset for development and job creation. Due to recent litigation that TGI is involved in, the Sunport has made the determination not to move forward with this potential lease, and we are now looking at new potential development opportunities for that parcel of land. The City did not offer TGI any economic development incentives while exploring this lease.

City of Albuquerque

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