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Mayor Tim Keller, Sunport Introduce Incentives for Aviation Center of Excellence Construction Projects

Sunport’s Aviation Center of Excellence (ACE) Business Park to be home to aviation and aerospace businesses, high tech companies, manufacturing, and some retail.

November 26, 2019

At the next meeting of the Albuquerque City Council, Mayor Tim Keller’s administration is presenting a resolution of intent to consider City incentives for development at the Albuquerque International Sunport’s Aviation Center of Excellence (ACE) Business Park.

The Sunport has prepared ACE to be home to aviation and aerospace businesses, high tech companies, manufacturing, and some retail. The property, once home to the airport’s north/south runway, consists of 75 shovel-ready acres and includes direct runway access.

The airport’s property, funded through the airport capital program with no use of general fund money, is actively seeking developers and tenants for a variety of options, including simple ground leases and build-to-suit facilities. There are new market tax credits, no impact fees or property taxes, and developments can take advantage of the airport’s foreign trade zone.

The resolution declares the City’s intent to partner with the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (SBIC). Pending final approval from City Council, SBIC, and the FAA, this partnership would allow the City to provide small business construction loans to private entities interested in building on ACE.

“This partnership would set the stage for growth in a key sector of our local economy where we already have an advantage,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “With support from our own Economic Development and Aviation Departments and the SBIC, the opportunity for local development is more attainable and has a strong potential return on investment.”

The resolution follows initial negotiations between the City’s Aviation and Economic Development Departments and the SBIC. If approved, the resolution would allow for continued negotiations, the goal of which would be to develop a formal structure and relationship for issuing these loans.

The Aviation Department follows strict rules and guidelines set forth by FAA grant assurances that dictate how and where the department can spend its monies. This partnership offers the Sunport the unique opportunity to incentivize development on its own property while maintaining its commitment to FAA guidelines.

“We are excited that the Sunport has the opportunity to work closely with the FAA and potentially serve as an example for airports across the country,” said Nyika Allen, Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. “Aviation and aerospace are a unique part of the city’s economy, and with incentives like this we have the opportunity to further grow and attract these types of businesses to our community.”