Netflix to expand ABQ Studios, pledges additional $1B investment

New Mexico News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Netflix is doubling-down in Albuquerque with the announcement of a major expansion at the company’s North American production hub. The movie and television streaming company revealed Plans on Monday to develop hundreds of acres of land that will adjoin the existing Albuquerque Studios property at Mesa del Sol.

The announcement marks the company’s second major investment in Albuquerque after it purchased Albuquerque Studios in 2018. At the time, Netflix promised their initial investment would lead to 1,000 jobs a year over a ten year period. Under the latest deal, Netflix is promising an additional 1,000 jobs over the next decade as it plans to build a host of new production facilities making it one of the largest “high-tech and sustainable film production facilities” in North America.

“One thing we’ve been trying to do is to get not just a film crew that comes in, films a movie and leaves,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said at a news conference Monday afternoon. “The post-production that comes along with it, that means even more jobs for New Mexicans, that film stays closer to us, and long in our city and it also creates a different set of jobs.”

As part of the streaming company’s latest plan, Netflix is seeking to add 300 acres of production space that would include a special effects warehouse, ten new soundstages, production mills, post-production facilities, office space, training facilities, wardrobe suites, a commissary, backlot and more. To do it, the company is seeking millions of dollars in government funds and tax breaks.

At a meeting Monday afternoon, the Albuquerque Development Commission approved a deal to allow the City of Albuquerque to issue seven million dollars of Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds. The deal still needs to be approved by Albuquerque City Councilors, then signed by Mayor Tim Keller.

Out of the $7 million the city is seeking to invest, one million of that would be a cash payment to Netflix. The other six million would go toward road and other infrastructure investments around the studio property.

The City of Albuquerque is also seeking to give Netflix $500 million in property tax and gross receipt tax breaks via industrial revenue bonds. Those bonds will partially abate property and other taxes over a 20-year term for the first $500 million investment by Netflix to build out the production facility.

In return, Netflix is now promising a total of 2,000 jobs over the next decade. Construction of the expansion is expected to generate around 1,467 construction jobs. Netflix is also promising about two-billion dollars in direct and indirect spending that will come with full operations.

According to the expansion incentive agreement, Netflix will also be required to offer training programs for below-the-line positions. The company has also committed to “supporting underrepresented groups’ content creators and filmmakers.”

“There’s no doubt about Netflix’s commitment now,” Mayor Keller said. “I mean, one, they already bought the studio, now they’re doubling in the size, so I think we’re stuck with each other for a long time, and we’re happy with that.”

New Mexico state government is also investing in the deal with about $17-million in LEDA funds. The state is also allowing Netflix to develop on 130 acres of state trust land.

The Economic Development Department reports that Netflix is currently in production in New Mexico on the original films, “The Harder They Fall,” and “Intrusion,” and “Stranger Things 4,” which is expected to begin filming soon in Albuquerque.

Since 2018, Netflix filmed the following productions in New Mexico: Army of the Dead, El Camino, Godless, Daybreak, Chambers, and Messiah.

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