Master planned community Mesa del Sol could continue to play a big role in the city and state’s economic growth, the organization’s CEO said.
“There’s been a lot of buzz about Mesa del Sol lately, but the project began in the ’80s and it’s taken 40 years for us to become an overnight success,” Mesa del Sol CEO David Campbell said during an Albuquerque Economic Forum presentation Wednesday.
Campbell said the community is staying true to its planned design that prioritizes housing diversity, mixed-use buildings and sustainability, but the focus has largely been on attracting new businesses to the area. Development plans for Mesa del Sol began in the ’80s, but the master plan wasn’t approved by Albuquerque until 2005. Once completed, it will be one of the largest master planned cities in the country. A company led by Steve Chavez, the former owner of WisePies Pizza & Salad, owns a significant portion of the property.
“The city’s instructions to Mesa del Sol and to the state land office when the area was annexed into the city was ‘create jobs first, and then housing will come later,'” he said. “And we don’t want this to be a net cost to any Albuquerque taxpayers, and we are following that instruction to the letter.”
Campbell said the community currently has 300 residences with plans to add an additional 400 by next year.
The master plan calls for 37,500 residences to house a population of 100,000.
He said a combination state and local government efforts have already attracted employers, like Netflix Studios, to the community.
“The impact on our city and state is huge,” he said of Netflix’s plan to expand its current studio into the company’s main production hub.
Campbell also pointed to Fidelity Investments, Kevothermal and Kairos Power as examples of current companies in the community that bring many jobs and invest into the community.
“There’s a lot of activity here with the jobs on the mesa, 2,500 jobs now, but thousands more we anticipate in the future,” he said.
Some of that job growth could stem from new industries like aerospace, green energy and biomedical robotics, he said.
“Economic development is huge in the future of not only Albuquerque, but Mesa del Sol and the economic development agencies have been stellar partners in introducing prospective employers to the mesa,” Campbell said.