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Sandia Science and Technology park still growing

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Sandia Science and Technology Park, near Eubank and Southern SE. (Courtesy Sandia Science And Technology Park)

Sandia Science and Technology Park in Southeast Albuquerque remains a vibrant source of high-wage jobs and economic activity, with 48 companies and organizations employing 2,369 people as of the end of 2019, according to a Mid-Region Council of Governments report released last week.

The park, next to Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base, attracted eight new companies and added 310 jobs in 2018-2019, according to MRCOG, which reports on the park’s economic impact every two years. Total wages for direct and indirect employment reached $887.8 million during the period.

For every job at the park, nearly two indirect jobs are created in the region, supporting a total of about 4,500 indirect jobs each year, the report said.

As a result, total direct and indirect wages together generated about $461.8 million in taxable personal consumption in Bernalillo County and surrounding areas during the two-year period. In addition, gross receipts tax revenue on purchases by park-based entities contributed $19.8 million to the state and $8.8 million to the city.

And at $95,000 a year, the park’s average full-time salary is well above the $49,000 average salary in surrounding areas, said park board chairman Sherman McCorkle.

“The park is the single biggest unsung quality job creator in the city, county and state,” McCorkle told the Journal. “High-wage jobs there are essentially twice the average salary in New Mexico.”

Most companies have contracts with Sandia, Kirtland and other base entities, offering a fairly stable workload for firms even during the coronavirus, although, like most workplaces, the pandemic has forced many to work from home, said Jackie Kerby Moore, Sandia’s manager of technology and economic development and the lab’s program manager for the park.

“It is quieter out there,” Kerby More said. “But park tenants have many customers at Sandia and Kirtland whose missions are going strong, and that helps keep the companies successful.”

Although not included in the report, Raytheon Technologies announced its departure from the park in May, foreshadowing about 200 expected layoffs by December and leaving about 175,000 square feet at two buildings vacant. But demand from prospective tents remains strong, McCorkle said, especially for the type of high-tech space and high-speed connectivity available at the Raytheon buildings.

Since the park opened in 1998, it’s generated:

n $147.5 million in tax revenue for the state and $32 million for Albuquerque.

n $6.4 billion in total wages and $3.7 billion in taxable personal consumption.

n $396 million in total park investments, including $90 million in public spending; the rest is from private sources.

“There were just empty fields here before,” Kerby Moore said. “The park has transformed a whole area of Southeast Albuquerque into a thriving technology community.”