SOURCE: Albuquerque Studios

September 20, 2006 12:18 ET

Albuquerque Studios Breaks New Ground

ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 20, 2006 -- With film production booming and powerful state-backed financial incentives in place, Albuquerque Studios has moved ahead with its plans to build New Mexico's first and only major soundstage complex.

Slated for phase one completion in early 2007, Albuquerque Studios has begun construction on their $74 million, 28-acre motion picture/television production facility. The studio is being built at Mesa Del Sol, five minutes south of Albuquerque International Sunport.

Phase one of the studio complex will consist of eight soundstages (four 24,000 square-foot stages with 55-foot clear height and four 18,000 square-foot stages with 45-foot clear height), office space, backlot space, mill storage and set-construction space, post-production suites, the full spectrum of production-support services and retail space, situated on 28 acres. The first two of the 24,000-square-foot stages are slated to open in January 2007, with additional stages opening every three weeks thereafter. Phase one is slated for completion by spring 2007.

Plans call for phase two to consist of an additional 28 acres to be developed for production and post-production use, eventually creating a production campus sprawling over 54 acres.

According to Hal Katersky, chairman and CFO of Pacifica Ventures, which will own and operate the new complex and also operates the historic Culver Studios in Los Angeles, the decision to build Albuquerque Studios was prompted by New Mexico's 25 percent production cost rebate program for film and TV: "It's the incentive program to begin with, and the fact that Albuquerque is only an hour and a half from Los Angeles, and an hour and a half is not very long when you figure you can't go from one end of L.A. to another in an hour and a half at many times of the day. And the third aspect is the warm reception we've received both by the mayor and his office, and the governor and his office, and the fact that the state wants this kind of business and is aggressive about this kind of business, makes it a good environment for everyone."

Says Nick Smerigan, VP of Albuquerque Studios, "Without a doubt, there's an opportunity to build a new industry in Albuquerque and we are taking full advantage of it. We are constructing a major facility starting with eight soundstages. The possibilities are endless and ultimately, the growth of the studio will depend on the overall growth of the business." Continues Smerigan, "We are in conversations with a number of major post-production and visual effects houses, along with other ancillary companies who are looking at the unique opportunities our studio complex and the state of New Mexico are offering. Our plan is to make some early announcements about their participation before the end of the year."

Smerigan points out, "We'll have the ability, because of the interior wall system we're using, to open the soundstages into 48,000-square foot and 36,000-square foot stages. Everything will be brand new, so we have a chance to do it right. Every conceivable production that could be done on a soundstage in L.A. could be done here."

Pacifica has engaged Build New Mexico as the developer for Albuquerque Studios. Pacifica's partners in construction funding are Amalgamated Bank of Washington D.C. and Commonwealth Realty Advisors Inc. of Chicago.

Since 2003 when Governor Bill Richardson took office, over 50 major productions have been shot in New Mexico, generating more than $650 million in production revenues. The state offers a 25 percent tax rebate on production revenues made within the state that are subject to state taxation, and a film investment loan, with participation in lieu of interest, of up to $15 million per project for qualifying feature or television projects. Among the movie and TV projects filmed in New Mexico recently are: "Little Miss Sunshine," "Into the West," "Bordertown," "The Longest Yard," "The Missing," "North Country," "Wildfire," "Comanche Moon," "Wild Hogs," "No Country for Old Men," and "Transformers."

Contact Information

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