Rail Yard Could Be a Movie Set

By Alan Schwartz
Letters to the Editor – Albuquerque Journal

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
THE RAIL YARD PLAN ENVISIONED BY THE URBAN COUNCIL seems to be a redux of the Embassy Suites project, although admittedly on a more grandiose scale. Create a few hundred jobs for what the industry now euphemistically calls “hospitality workers” immediately adjacent to a poor neighborhood. The only thing missing from this scenario is the request for tax abatements, credits and bond subsidies.

The city and state claim to be serious about pursuing the growth of local motion picture production. I can’t think of a better potential location for studio activities than the rail yard. In addition to the large buildings, which could be suitable for conversion to sound stages, the vintage buildings easily lend themselves as period sets, and the site is suitable for real time rail operation. One can easily envision a scenario where an operating Wheels Museum collection could be used by movie production companies.

Compared to the minimum wage housekeeping and wait staff jobs offered by a hotel/convention/expo center, studio production demands a wide range of skills from the arts and crafts— actors, directors, gaffers, electricians, carpenters, drivers. The salaries from these jobs could easily support Downtown housing and revitalization of the Barelas neighborhood.

Motion picture production in Albuquerque may or may not be a viable idea, but it will never have a chance of coming to fruition if we don’t get off our backside.