The Albuquerque Development Commission (ADC) approved a request Monday from Netflix for an additional $24 million in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds and a $500 million Industrial Revenue Bond (IRB). If approved by the Albuquerque City Council in early December, this would expand the Mesa del Sol campus by 300 acres and establish Albuquerque as the primary Netflix production site in North America.
LEDA funds provide cash or infrastructure incentives to growing businesses in New Mexico.
The LEDA fund proposal includes a request for $7 million from the city of Albuquerque and $17 million dollars from the state of New Mexico.
Netflix received previous LEDA funding that subsidized its purchase of the existing 30-acre Albuquerque Studios plot. With this further funding, Netflix will add another 300 acres of land that would include training facilities, wardrobe suites, special effects warehouses and backlots.
According to testimony during the ADC’s meeting provided by Rajiv Dalal, the head of global production and investment policy at Netflix, the company has held up its end of the previous deal, spending over $150 million in the two years since acquiring Albuquerque Studios while also hiring 1,600 new cast and crew members to film hits such as “El Camino.”
With the new deal, Netflix plans on reaching expenditures exceeding $2 billion by 2033, while also creating another 994 new jobs on top of the 1,000 already promised each year.
According to Synthia Jaramillo, the city’s economic development director, Albuquerque is estimated to make its investment back within the next ten years.
In addition to the many film and production jobs Netflix plans to bring to New Mexico, the company also expects to bring close to 1,500 construction jobs to the state.
There are also plans for expanding its existing studio, but the company also has “every intention to make this a sustainable production hub,” according to Netflix representatives.
Netflix said it plans on working closely with the University of New Mexico to place graduates and will hire locally as much as possible. UNM film students are expected to be tapped to provide design and technical support for Netflix productions.
The deal has many UNM students excited.
“The city needs the revenue,” Marcos Romero, a UNM student majoring in film and digital media arts, said. “I think Netflix going all in on us is a huge, great move.”
“I’ve had a few friends saying that the way Albuquerque is looking right now looks like the beginnings of Hollywood, and I really do see that,” Romero added. “Big stuff is coming, and this is a really great start.”
Rajiv Dalal also spoke about Netflix possibly opening up for tourism in order to bring more attention to the state — if and when they expand.
No one at the ADC meeting spoke against Netflix receiving the LEDA and IRB funds, and both proposals received great support from all attendees of the meeting.
Netflix’s expansion is expected to help turn New Mexico into one of the biggest film-producing states in the nation.
Dominic Banghart is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @whosdomdizzle