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Netflix to buy ABQ Studios

By Adrian Gomez / Journal Arts and Entertainment Editor Monday, October 8th, 2018 at 1:00pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Netflix is making Albuquerque its home away from home.

The entertainment giant has purchased Albuquerque Studios and will make it a production hub over the next year. Albuquerque Studios has been for sale for a few years.

“The facts are really important,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “There will be 1,000 jobs per year, which is the largest Albuquerque-based jobs program that we can think of.”

Albuquerque has regularly been ranked in the top 10 of Moviemaker’s best places to be a filmmaker. The New Mexico film industry has seen steady growth for more than 15 years.

Keller said lawmakers have talked for decades about a name brand for the city.

“This deal helps define us,” he says. “This is Intel equivalent. There has been nothing like this in central New Mexico other than Intel. For us though, Intel was one of 13 fab (fabrication) plants. This is it. It is their only studio they have in the United States that they’ve purchased. They are putting their anchor here and it’s going to redefine the economic landscape in Albuquerque and the Southwest.”

Keller said Albuquerque beat out other places such as Denver, Salt Lake City, Austin, New York, Georgia and Los Angeles.

“Netflix is at the cutting edge of the film and television industry and it’s an honor to welcome them to New Mexico,” said Governor Martinez. “After years of hard work to cut taxes and make New Mexico business-friendly, we’re seeing incredible results. Now, New Mexico is leading the nation in economic growth and lowering unemployment and we’ve brought the world’s leading internet entertainment service, Netflix, to our state.”

The jobs coming to Albuquerque run the gamut within film and TV productions.

“The jobs don’t require a particular degree and they are accessible from all walks of life,” Keller said. “They are high paying and that is extremely rare. The film industry has its own career ladder. It doesn’t matter where you went to school and it’s one of the great industries where you are rewarded for as good as you are at your job.”

Alicia J. Keyes, city of Albuquerque’s film liaison, said many of the jobs will be technician jobs. Many of the jobs are $70,000 a year.

“Albuquerque Studios has been a rental house for years,” Keyes said. “Now you have a production and distribution company that can create their own content. They won’t be looking for people to rent the space.”

Keller said Netflix was impressed with the experience of crew in New Mexico.

“Our workforce was ready,” Keller said. “We have studios, like this one they are buying.”

Keyes is quick to give credit to the foundation that has been laid over the last 16 years.

She credits previous and current film directors for the state and city, including Nick Maniatis and Ann Lerner, and her relationship with Jason Hariton, head of Worldwide Studio Operations and Real Estate for Netflix. “Jason managed ABQ Studios years ago, he knows the facility well,” Keyes said. “So he was open to having a conversation and was proactive about purchasing such a world-class facility for Netflix.”

She continues, “Neflix’s commitment to Albuquerque is the result of years of support for this industry by the legislature, the administrations and the New Mexico people. Our state’s commitment to the entertainment industry has paid off in a big way, especially when you consider the amount of outside money flowing into our community. Last year, just in Albuquerque, film/TV brought in over $180 million of direct spend, and that does not count the indirect money from tourism and monies spent outside of production.”

With Neftlix buying Albuquerque Studios, all the studios will get work pushed out to them, said Nick Maniatis, NM Film Office director.

“It’s really good for the state and they will be hiring people from New Mexico,” Maniatis said. “It won’t have a negative impact. The rest of the studios will be busy with work that would normally go to Albuquerque Studios.”

Maniatis said the deal also calls for $1 billion worth of production spent over 10 years.

“This means a lot of people will be working,” Maniatis said. “They have plans to start a training program and that will help our folks getting into the industry.”

Keyes said working on the deal began 10 days after she was hired.

The state is putting $10 million of Local Economic Development Act or LEDA funds. Meanwhile, the city of Albuquerque is in for $4.5 million of LEDA funds.

“The foundation was already there and we made the right calls,” Keyes said. “Everybody worked together to see the industry succeed. I was coming into this with a mayor who is film friendly. Everything aligned and it’s going to benefit the industry.”

Of course, the deal needs to be approved by City Council, Keller said.

“Having Netflix set down roots in Albuquerque guarantees that the city will remain a major production center for the entertainment industry,” Keller said. “Thanks to the strong leadership of our Albuquerque Film Office, who initiated the deal, and the groundwork laid by previous and current film industry partners, we’re ready to welcome Netflix to Albuquerque as a long-term partner in building our state’s economy.’

Netflix Coming to Albuquerque – Our Take

This is a huge get for Albuquerque and the surrounding areas. Netflix is a huge company, producing a lot of well-known shows and content, and Allen Sigmon is excited about the implications of a company that size coming to our state. This will create more jobs, which will affect the need for housing and commercial real estate. This will also attract a broad range of new companies to the area.

The ABQ film industry has been doing an amazing job. Movies like Marvel’s “The Avengers” were filmed in New Mexico. Shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul were also filmed in Albuquerque for many years. As a community, we have been very happy and supportive of film projects being created in New Mexico.


Allen Sigmon Real Estate Group is a full-service commercial real estate company based in Albuquerque with an expertise in acquisitions, brokerage, development, and property management. As a local company, we pride ourselves in our knowledge of the New Mexico commercial market and the relationships we are able to foster compared to larger national firms. Our office works with every kind of commercial property; including office, industrial, retail, land, and multifamily.

Our understanding of client needs and concerns not only comes from our experience as an office but also as owners and investors of commercial property ourselves. We have an excellent team in place that is eager to work on your behalf; our results speak for themselves.

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