$50 Million Digital Media Production Complex To Be Built at Old Rail Yard


A $50 million digital media production complex will be built on part of the old rail yard on the edge of Downtown Albuquerque, officials said Wednesday.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

By Jim Ludwick – Journal Staff Writer

“I think we’re introducing the future of Albuquerque,” Mayor Martin Chávez said in announcing the project, which previously had been discussed as a tentative proposal.

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Craig Fritz – Tribune

“This has national and international significance. The technology that will be processed through these marvelous buildings will change New Mexico,” Chávez said.

Debra Rosen, co-chief executive of Digital Media Group, said her firm’s project will have two aspects. It will offer a production facility that will lease services to motion picture, television, cable and commercial industries, and it will explore ways of using media technology for applications in medicine, defense and transportation.

“We plan on working in this community— involving the community in job development,” Rosen said.

She emphasized that the business wants to be a good neighbor. Developers will be Build New Mexico and its allied Union Development Corp.

James Trump, executive director of Build New Mexico, said the complex will include 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of office space, about 50,000 square feet of studios and about 20,000 square feet of storage or warehouse space.

“We’re also looking at a day-care facility. We’re looking at a restaurant, or two restaurants, on the site,” Trump said.

The project drew praise from Gov. Bill Richardson.

“This facility could become the centerpiece of Albuquerque. … The potential is enormous here for all kinds of exciting activity,” he said.

He said New Mexico is “a state that is taking off. … The Digital Media Group is a major step toward building a complete film industry in this state.”

The choice of a location for the project stemmed largely from the interest of Elliott Lewitt, who produced the movie “Around the Bend,” filmed in Albuquerque. He was pleased with his experience in New Mexico, and it convinced him and his partners to consider Albuquerque for the production facility.

“This is really just the beginning,” said Lewitt, one of the leaders of the Digital Media Group.

He said the business will be “attracting the best talent and allowing them to work in the best environment.”

“We’re humbled by the opportunity to be here. We’re deeply aware of the responsibility,” he said.

Fred Mondragon, who heads the city’s Office of Economic Development, said the project might use industrial revenue bonds, which would require City Council approval. The city also could consider assistance with infrastructure and some transportation issues, he said.

IRBs are bonds that are used to finance business facilities. They are repaid by the companies that use them, not by the city, but the use of IRBs clears the way for tax incentives.