SANTA TERESA — A Texas oil billionaire has bought land in this fast-growing border industrial hub — a sign, observers say, that momentum is at last on New Mexico’s side and long-simmering tensions between two border communities on either side of the state line may be easing.
El Paso’s Paul Foster, chairman of Western Refining Inc., has bought more than 38 acres in an industrial zone of Santa Teresa from Albuquerque-based Titan Development for an undisclosed sum. Foster ranks No. 1,476 on the annual Forbes list of billionaires, which tacks his net worth at $1.22 billion.
The publicly traded oil refining and marketing company owns refineries in Gallup and El Paso, as well as more than 200 filling stations including Giant in the Albuquerque market.
“Santa Teresa hasn’t grown near as fast as anybody promised, but it is starting to fire on all cylinders now,” said Brett Preston, managing partner at Cushman & Wakefield in El Paso, who helped broker the deal. “That is why Foster bought land. He wanted a position out there. The land was bought with the intent to build investment buildings on it.”