On Wednesday, the Albuquerque city council unanimously approved a 10-year ground lease and development agreement between Amazon and the Albuquerque International Sunport. Amazon’s construction of a 31,000-square-foot air cargo facility and the expansion of the Sunport’s cargo apron are expected to be completed next August.
Five acres of vacant land surrounding the Sunport will be leased to Amazon for the air cargo facility that will be completely funded by Amazon. The expansion of the cargo apron is also necessary so there is airside access to the facility. This will cost $11.4 million, $6.6 million of which has already been secured in federal funding, according to Albuquerque Director of Aviation Nyika Allen.
The project is expected to bring additional revenue into the city through commuters who will be coming into the city to work at the new facility. The lease itself will annually bring in $54,450 to the city from Amazon, which will escalate by 2% each year. It has three five-year renewal options for a maximum term of 25 years.
“I like the way this deal is structured. It's good for us to bring some new jobs for the airport area, for (southeast Albuquerque),” Councilor Pat Davis said. “Folks will be living all over the city, and I suspect folks as far as Valencia county will be coming up here to do that work, spend their money in our town.”
Mayor Tim Keller voiced his support of the project in a press release on Thursday, citing the jobs it will bring to Albuquerque.
“This is just one of the major companies choosing Albuquerque as a premier location. They recognize that our efforts to support local businesses and our quality of life makes this the place to be. There are thousands of good jobs headed to our city, more than over the past decade combined,” Keller said in the press release. “By creating an intermodal transportation hub at the Sunport, we can strengthen and boost our local economy.”
While this project is highly regarded by city officials, other cities like Seattle, Washington have had Amazon enter their local economy with mixed results. According to the Washington Post, Amazon was part of the reason for increases in rent, the unhoused population and traffic in Seattle. The Atlantic reported that poor working conditions caused many employees to resign from their positions before they were able to reap any of the benefits the job offers.
Madeline Pukite is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @madelinepukite