Translate Our Site

City Taking Steps to Bring Major Aerospace Project to Albuquerque

Orion Center development at Sunport’s Aviation Center of Excellence would transform City’s economic landscape.

Nov. 12, 2020

For over a year, Group Orion has been working closely with Mayor Tim Keller’s administration to secure an agreement and work out details for a development that would bring the company to the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation Center of Excellence (ACE), an 80-acre site adjacent to the Sunport once occupied by a north/south runway that was decommissioned in 2012. The plans include a potential 1000 employees and construction of 4.1 million square feet buildings that would create transformative economic development not seen in our city for decades.

62691104372__C3EB1FD9-B29D-4EDA-82BA-A67CE2C9E8D7 “The Orion Center has the potential to be a game-changing partnership for our city’s Aerospace and Tech Sector,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We knew how important this is for Albuquerque, so early this year we sent COO Lawrence Rael and Sunport Director Nyika Allen to D.C. to bring this deal home to the Aviation Center of Excellence. This development could be a massive job creator for our city, providing a boost to our economy and securing our role in the booming space industry.”

The global space economy is projected to be worth $3 trillion by 2045, and no city is more prepared than Albuquerque to capitalize on that growth. This unprecedented industry expansion is due to advances in space tourism and military spending - areas in which Albuquerque is well-positioned to lead the country.

“We would like to express our appreciation to Mayor Tim Keller, his team, and our project partners for their support during this development process”, said James Reid Gorman, VP of Administration for Theia Group, Incorporated. “We look forward to continued and meaningful progress on the project in the coming months.”

On August 2, 2020, the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation and Economic Development Departments participated in a public meeting with City Council President Pat Davis’ District 6 Neighborhood Coalition to formally introduce Group Orion to the community. Plans were then submitted to the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) in late September.

“We started working on this project a year ago recognizing what incredible potential it has to diversify Albuquerque’s economy,” said Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael. “In our meetings with the company, we expressed that our city’s natural assets position us to be a perfect home for this innovative work.”

At today’s meeting of the EPC, that plan for a City partnership to bring a major aerospace and technology company to Albuquerque took a big step forward, receiving approval to move to the next stage. Group Orion, a subsidiary of Theia Group, Incorporated, participated in the hearing today to present their plans.

Group Orion will now shift their focus to the next stage of the approval process with the Federal Aviation Administration. If fully approved, initial site work could begin as soon as spring of 2021 with some phases of construction complete by 2023.

“The EPC’s approval marks another important step towards Orion Center coming to fruition,” said Nyika Allen, Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. “With the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the Aviation Industry, bringing Group Orion in as on-site partners would represent a much-needed boost to our non-aeronautical business operations.”

Owned and operated by the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation Department, the Albuquerque International Sunport is New Mexico’s largest commercial airport, welcoming over 5 million passengers each year. Served by 8 major carriers, the Sunport offers non-stop service between ABQ and more than 20 destinations, all with worldwide connectivity. The Albuquerque International Sunport is the Gateway of New Mexico.

Theia Group is a privately held aerospace company headquartered in Washington, DC. To learn more about Theia Group Inc, please visit https://theiagroupinc.com/.

You can watch a media availability answering questions about the project here.