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Officials break ground on Los Lunas rail park

LOS LUNAS — Under a chilly winter sky, desert prairie ground was broken by community leaders Wednesday for the Central New Mexico Rail Park in Los Lunas.

Los Lunas Councilor Gino Romero, Bernalillo County Commission Chairman Art De La Cruz and others celebrated the public and private partnerships supporting the rail park, which proponents say could boost New Mexico’s transportation and logistics industry and potentially create thousands of jobs.

“The potential of the manufacturing jobs and the construction build-out, especially on the heels of Facebook and what it does for the construction economy here, could help be a game-changer for our economy in central New Mexico,” said land co-owner Tim Cummins, of RIO Real Estate Investment Opportunities LLC.

Developers are planning a $25 million warehouse, manufacturing and distribution center on more than 400 acres at the site along N.M. 6. Cummins said he expects the rail park will provide full-time manufacturing jobs.

“We originally thought it would mainly be warehouse distribution (jobs) but it turns out most of our inquiries are for manufacturing,” Cummins said.

No tenants have been announced for the development yet.

Last July, the village of Los Lunas annexed the rail park land to its municipal boundaries, and earlier this month, Bernalillo County commissioners approved a $400,000 LEDA grant for construction of a rail spur.

The BNSF rail spur is expected to be built by summer, said Ean Johnson, BNSF regional manager of economic development. By midsummer, the track into the park is expected to be completed to transport commodities across the region.

Train traffic in the park is expected to start with two to three trains per week with the goal of one train per day.

The rail park’s 1,627 acres are located in the San Clemente Land Grant area on the north side of N.M. 6, west of Interstate 25 in Los Lunas.

“We’re excited — we’re excited about everything just seemed to come together at the right time,” Cummins said.