City Council approves NBCUniversal package

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Three days after NBCUniversal announced it was creating a film and TV studio in Albuquerque, an associated multi-million-dollar project incentive sailed though City Council.

The Council on Monday voted unanimously to give the media conglomerate $3 million in Local Economic Development Act funding, with several members hailing the agreement as a significant victory for the community.

“This is really a big day for Albuquerque – a big week,” Councilor Diane Gibson said.

City and state economic development officials told the Council about the company’s expected local spending and its plans to create more than 330 full-time-equivalent jobs.

“We don’t have an unemployment problem, we have a wealth problem,” State Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. “By creating jobs in a sector that pays more than minimum wage – much more than minimum wage – that is what we’re doing for New Mexico: we are creating wealth.”

Officials announced the new studio Friday during a news conference at its future site – a longtime liquor distribution warehouse on Commercial Street just north of Downtown.

In the 10-year agreement, NBCUniversal commits to $500 million in direct and indirect production-related spending in New Mexico by the end of 2029. The company is also helping to market the city and state, and investing in workforce development.

In exchange, the city will give NBCUniversal $3 million in LEDA funding and the state will provide $7.7 million in LEDA money.

The bulk goes to reimburse NBCUniversal for its lease payments to locally owned Garcia Realty and Development. The Garcia family has owned the warehouse since 2017.

Documents show lease payments for the warehouse building and an associated facility nearby will total about $1.2 million annually.

Should NBCUniversal fail to meet certain performance targets, it would incur financial penalties; if it ceases operations before the 10-year mark, it would have to pay back all or some of the LEDA money received.

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