Ground work has begun on the Sunport South Business Park, a 350-acre development just south of the Albuquerque International Sunport.
“We’ve begun moving dirt on 80 acres,” Bill Robertson, Colliers International senior vice president, confirmed on Friday. “We will have finished pads ready in four to five months, which will allow us to start making deals then.”
The project consists of three phases estimated to be completed in five years.
“We basically want a place to bring our distribution warehouses into the 21st century,” said Tom Franchini, a Colliers vice president. “We’ve looked all over the country, and one of the hottest products out there is tilt-up warehouse distribution.”
Tilt-up buildings can be erected rapidly by tilting cement walls onto a cement slab and adding a panel roof.
Franchini said most national companies coming to town are also looking for 32-foot ceilings and trailer storage.
Robertson said Albuquerque doesn’t have a big inventory that is already built, so businesses that want to start operations immediately have a difficult time finding a facility large enough to house their operation.
“With this first phase in place, we now feel like we can offer what site selectors have been looking for all along — quick turnaround,” Robertson said.
The site also offers a good location with rail, interstate and airport access.
“Site selectors always look at a site logistically,” he said. “We can offer the Rio Bravo access, and we are right next to the airport so that’s another logistic angle. We’ve been talking to the airport, and they are going to let us into their air cargo areas.”
Robertson said if tenants need access to the airport to ship a product, they will be able to do so in a matter of minutes.
“We have a lot of interest in this area from several businesses, which we cannot disclose,” Robertson said. “But because we have gotten the process this far it shouldn’t be hard to fill the space.”
Collier’s news is just the latest in a series of projects near the airport.
Also starting construction in the area are Max Q at Kirtland, a 900,000-square-foot mixed use development, and the Aviation Center of Excellence, an 80-acre commercial development.
“Normally, a city’s airport is the first place developments of this kind get placed,” Robertson said. “For whatever reason, it just hasn’t been done in Albuquerque, so we are taking advantage of that now.”