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PNM to build new West Side substation near Amazon

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Public Service Company of New Mexico is planning a new electric substation on Albuquerque’s West Side near Interstate 40 and Atrisco Vista Boulevard to accommodate ongoing industrial and residential development in the area.

That includes Amazon, which is building a massive fulfillment center there scheduled to open in late 2021 and employ about 1,000 people. Once built, the five-story facility will total about 2.58 million square feet, or about the size of 14 Walmart Supercenters, making it one of the largest buildings in the state.

PNM’s substation, expected to come online in spring 2021, will help channel needed electricity to Amazon, while also providing foundational infrastructure to accommodate continued commercial and residential growth in the area, said PNM Manager of Business Development Elisha Saavedra.

“The new substation is not just for Amazon, but to support a growing community of commercial and residential customers,” Saavedra told the Journal. “There’s a lot of growth out there, with construction all around.”

Amazon’s arrival did inspire PNM to start planning more aggressively for West Side expansion, Saavedra said.

“We want to provide more reliability and additional back up services there,” she said. “We’re thinking strategically now about continued growth out there, with plans for a new switching station and upgrades to transmission in the future.”

The north side of I-40 along Atrisco Boulevard is already home to some large commercial facilities, including Shamrock Foods, Tempur-Pedic and FedEx. Double Eagle II airport lies just north of the business zone, and the Santolina master planned community is targeted for the south side of I-40.

With Amazon now setting up shop, public officials expect commercial interest to expand, said Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, who represents that area in District 1.

“There’s still a lot of undeveloped property on both sides of the airport,” O’Malley said. “There’s immense potential for the City of Albuquerque to grow out there, with potential as well for the airport to expand.”

In 2015, commissioners passed a resolution that designated Atrisco Vista a priority corridor for the county, leading to a feasibility study in 2016 and an Atrisco Vista Alignment study last year.

The County Commission approved $6.5 million in late May for upgrades to roads, lighting and other infrastructure along Atrisco Vista Boulevard, the I-40 interchange, and a road leading into the business park where Amazon will be located.

“I am committed to incremental development where infrastructure exists on the West Side and where there is a plan,” said O’Malley, who sponsored the $6.5 million investment request. “The infrastructure improvements to Atrisco Vista corridor will also create opportunities for other businesses to locate near Amazon.”

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