NBCUniversal to Invest in Production Studio in New Mexico

ABQ Studios-New Mexico-Getty-H 2018
Steve Snowden/Getty Images

The company plans to invest $500 million in the state in the next 10 years.

NBCUniversal is laying down roots in New Mexico.

The company is planning to build a studio in Albuquerque. As a result, NBCU expects to spend $500 million in the state over the next 10 years, with that spending creating 330 jobs and generating an estimated $1 billion in economic development.

The decade-long venture is with Garcia Realty and Development will consist of turning an empty warehouse in the New Mexico area into a state-of-the-art studio with two sound stages and offices. In addition, NBCUniversal and Garcia Realty and Development will jointly locate lighting, grip and transportation operations at the facility, located at 1601 Commercial Street.

The agreement was announced at the Albuquerque production headquarters where both officials of the state and executives of NBCUniversal were present.

"We are growing New Mexico’s film industry, diversifying our economy and creating exciting jobs. This is a home run deal,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. "I’m incredibly thrilled to welcome our state’s new partner, NBCUniversal. The media industry is increasingly vital to our state’s workforce, providing stable long-term employment for talented individuals of every age, from all parts of the state. I’m thrilled to be part of expanding that industry — and we will continue to do so."

As part of the pact, New Mexico's economic development office is providing over $7 million via the Local Economic Development Act, while the city of Albuquerque is giving another $3 million from its LEDA fund to the redevelopment and production commitment.

Upon completion of the studio conversions, which are pegged at $4 million, the new facility will be used by NBCUniversal to produce scripted productions for many platforms, including broadcast and cable channels. Currently, the USA network series Briarpatch, from Universal Content Productions, has committed to film in Albuquerque. The Briarpatch pilot was filmed in New Mexico in 2018, employing about 200 New Mexico crew members and 350 to 450 background extras.

Added Dawn Olmstead, president of Universal Content Productions and Wilshire Studios, and Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television, in a statement: “NBCUniversal has enjoyed a longstanding and productive relationship with New Mexico and Albuquerque and we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our presence in this community through our venture with the Garcia family. We are thankful for the support of Gov. Lujan Grisham, Mayor Keller and their economic development teams that have helped make our long-term investment in Albuquerque a reality.”

NBCUniversal isn't the only entertainment company to head to New Mexico recently. Last year, Netflix purchased ABQ Studios in Albuquerque’s Mesa Del Sol community, announcing that it plans to spend $1 billion in production in the state over a similar amount of time.