By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2022 Issue
Business Facilities: What is the status of economic development in New Mexico. What is the happening in the state?
Allen: We’re seeing a larger than ever amount of interest in New Mexico across a wide range of industries. We’ve seen companies that want to import and distribute products, food production, all things related to the aerospace industry, metals manufacturing, medical products and pharmaceutical projects, energy related products and services, and consumer goods manufacturers.
New Mexico is making its way to the top of the list of locations for many industries, and we think there’s a lot of momentum being built. New Mexico has a unique set of advantages to offer companies, and more and more businesses are coming to that realization.
BF: Why should companies consider New Mexico for relocation or expansion? What are the target industries?
Allen: Companies are taking advantage of the strategic location and lower cost of doing business that can be found in New Mexico. This is especially important as companies look to “right-size” their operations to address supply chain issues by adding new manufacturing capabilities or distribution locations.
When it comes to getting products where they need to be or serving existing customers, New Mexico’s location in the southwest offers quick access to key consumer markets both nationally and internationally. The state is equidistant by rail from two major port regions (LA/Long Beach [CA] and Houston/Galveston [TX]), as well as being proximate to 75% of the U.S. population within 2-days via truck. The state also shares a border with Mexico, providing a unique opportunity for companies looking to make use of multi-national operations.
New Mexico has several target industries that are thriving in the state including: Aerospace, Film & Television, Intelligent/Advance Manufacturing, Outdoor Recreation, Sustainable and Green Energy, Bioscience, Sustainable and Value-added Agriculture, Cybersecurity, and Global Trade. Each of these industries has an existing ecosystem and assets that support continued development and expansion.
For example, the supporting research and development network in New Mexico fuels the technical advancement, product development, and growth of many of these high-tech industries. In addition to three Tier-1 research universities, New Mexico is home to both Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs, the Airforce Research Lab, and Spaceport America. New Mexico offers opportunity to test everything from smart grids to rocket engines, research new medical treatments or agricultural techniques, and develop new cybersecurity solutions or vehicles that take us to space.
BF: What is a recent project relocation or expansion you’d like to tell us about?
Allen: The Ball Corporation and Manna Capital’s recent announcement is a project that we’re excited about. In May of this year the joint partnership between Ball Corporation and Manna Capital announced that they had chosen Los Lunas, NM for a state-of-the-art aluminum can sheet rolling mill. The facility is planned to be on 1,300 acres in the Central New Mexico Rail Park, one of the many rail-served industrial parks throughout the state. The investment group plans to invest over $2 billion into the facility and create over 950 jobs. The investment group has come to an agreement with the electrical utility PNM and the state of New Mexico to have the facility powered with 100% renewable energy. The investment group chose New Mexico in part because of the competitive business climate, proximity to rail and transportation assets in the growing southwest market, and the state’s commitment to sustainable energy.
This is just one of those projects that illustrates what is possible in New Mexico. A history of success for advanced manufacturers in the state and the state’s dedication to renewable energy production come together in great fashion to make this project a success.
BF: What is a program or incentive for business making a difference in New Mexico?
Allen: The state has focused on proactively maintaining a business-friendly environment and a wide range of incentive programs. One of the most impactful of those incentives is the state’s Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP), which offers cash reimbursements for on-the-job and classroom training for expanding or relocating businesses for up to six months. This not only benefits incoming businesses, but also supports the growth of businesses that are already here. In fact, throughout FY2022, 80 companies received JTIP funding which went to hire or retrain over 2,000 workers.
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Another key incentive for prospective companies is the state’s discretionary incentive, the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), a cash grant program that can be used towards the reimbursement of land, building or infrastructure improvement costs. The state has also created a new program for large projects with more than $350 million in capital costs, the LEDA GRT Share program. The program will allow those large projects to receive up to 50% of the gross receipts taxes paid on the construction of a new facility back to the company.