ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The next step in the Orion Center near the Albuquerque International Sunport is in the works, with a permit application for a new concrete plant nearby that would supply the materials to get the center going. However, some neighbors say they’re concerned.
The dirt lot off Girard and Miles is just feet away from the proposed site of the Orion Center. Recently, an air quality construction permit application was issued, saying a 24/7 concrete plant by Duke City Redi-Mix would go in this spot, if approved.
“This is the third permit for a batch plant at this location,” said Patty Willson, president of the Victory Hills Neighborhood Association. “It’s very common in big construction projects to do a batch plant, so what that does is it produces the concrete on-site, rather than having to transport it.”
A representative with the Sunport says this concrete plant is connected to the Orion Center, which would house the manufacturing and testing of satellites, while also bringing a hotel, dining, and more to the site of the old runway off of Gibson. The permit says the operations could go 24/7, but Willson says that likely won’t be the case and that kind of permit is requested in case they need to run that late on occasion.
One nearby resident, who wished to remain anonymous, says he’s concerned about late-night noise and what chemicals could be kicked up into the air. However, Willson, who represents the Victory Hills Neighborhood Association just north of the site, says she’s not too worried.
“I’m really pleased with the Orion development. I think that’s the kind of development we need in district six,” said Willson. “I think this project takes advantage of a lot of Albuquerque’s strengths.”
Willson says they’ve made sure the trucks carrying materials would not be lined up along residential streets and the noise likely won’t beat out the airplane engines from nearby Kirtland and the Sunport. The City of Albuquerque says the air quality permit has not been approved yet, but if it is, they will work to notify all of the nearby neighborhoods.
The Theia Group behind the project says it could have the satellite workers on-site by summer 2023, but it’s unclear how soon that first concrete batch plant would be completed. KRQE News 13 reached out to the Orion Center and Duke City Redi-Mix for an update on the project, but have not heard back.