Aerospace Center One Step Closer to Being Built in Albuquerque

by: KOAT

November 3rd, 2020 –The pandemic depressed the economy and impacted every industry in some way. Albuquerque city leaders said they’re thinking ahead of the times, with the goal of bringing an aerospace center to the city.

During a press conference on Thursday, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said some good news.

“What we’re announcing is a frankly unbelievable bright spot in the midst of a pandemic,” Keller said. “It’s getting very, very real.”

The city got approval from the Environmental Planning Commission to take a “big step forward” in building the “Orion Center,” an aerospace and technology facility on a 122-acre plot of land adjacent to the Sunport.

“This is a project that will literally make Albuquerque a home base for space,” Keller said.

The Orion Center will be run by “Group Orion,” a subsidiary of the Theia Group Incorporated. Theia Groups is a privately held aerospace company that is based in Washington D.C.

“The global space economy is projected to be worth $3 trillion by 2045,” Cynthia Armijo the Bernalillo County Economic Development Director said.

The city wants to capitalize on the growing aerospace industry, to bring an estimated 1,000 high-paying, reoccurring jobs to central New Mexico, according to city officials. Hundreds of construction jobs are planned to be created to build the center. It’s estimated to be 4.1 million square feet spread out across six buildings.

With the green light from the EPC, additional approval by the Federal Aviation Administration is needed to move the project forward.

“We will now focus on with Group Orion on obtaining FAA approval necessary to be on an airfield,” Sunport Director Nyika Allen said.

If the FAA approves the Center, then construction of the Orion Center could start in spring 2021.

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