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$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.

Click here to view a larger image.

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.

Events

New Lego exhibit at the Wheels Museum. View The New Mexico Lego Users Group has
partnered with WHEELS to have a beautiful Lego Train layout for children of all ages to enjoy. The exhibit will vary from season to season and we invite you to come see this new Lego train exhibit.

Do you have a few hours each month to help the Wheels Museum? Volunteers are needed so the Museum can be open more; run the model railroad trains, also help needed with events, marketing, fund raising. Call Leba Freed at (505) 243-6269.

Febuary 16, 11 am. Bob Bovee Long Steel Rails concert. This program for all ages presents songs and stories about the famous trains, rail workers, hobos, train wrecks and train robbers. Call or email Leba Freed for reservations at (505) 243-6269 or leba4@aol.com.

March 17, Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at WHEELS. Movie, tours, train ride and food celebration.

April 1, 1 pm. Doug Figgs and Badger. Back by popular demand. By reservations only (505) 243- 6269. Doug’s show was sold out last year, so call early! Donation: $10.00.

April 8, 11 am. “Historic Albuquerque” Ronn Perea will present old Albuquerque anecdotes including delightful stories about our beloved Alvarado Hotel and the politicians, actors and entertainers who stayed there. This is a free event but, of course, donations are always appreciated.

April 22, Wheels Museum Day trip to Rancho De Chimayo Restaurante, El Santuario de Chimayo and the Santa Fe Plaza. Call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for more information. The museum is a 501C3 non-profit community organization whose mission is to create a transportation museum at the downtown Albuquerque Steam Locomotive Repair Shops.

May 19-May 23, Train trip to the Grand Canyon. Only a few spaces left.Scheduled through Amtrak Vacations, call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for reservations and more information.