With Netflix gaining so much popularity, it's only natural for it to expand to new horizons!
Recently, the media streaming platform added a new facility to its booming business. It purchased ABQ Studios, a large TV and film production facility in New Mexico, which has served as a production site for four seasons of Breaking Bad, Disney’s The Lone Ranger, Sicario, and Marvel’s The Avengers in the past.
It looks like the addition of the facility is proving to be a win-win deal for the California-based company. Join us as we unfold more details, but first, let’s give you a glimpse of the property.
Deets on ABQ Studios
Located in the middle of the North Mexico desert, the property is fifteen minutes away from the city airport. It sits on 28-acres of land, which was previously a part of Mesa del Sol's master-planned community.
In 2000 when the U.S. housing business crashed, the area was left stagnant. Then in 2010, it came under Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and was soon acquired by a New York-based Amalgamated Bank.
In October 2018, when Netflix proposed to buy the site (code-named “Project Zia”) in return for $30 million and project shootings worth a billion dollars, the Albuquerque Development Commission collectively voted in favor of the deal. At that time, Ty Warren, Rajiv Dalal, and Jason Hariton represented Netflix during the negotiation rounds. Alicia J. Keyes, Albuquerque film liaison, represented the city.
Modifications to ABQ Studios
Previously, ABQ Studios had eight sound stages spread across 132,000 sq. ft. It had production offices, support space, and a spacious backlot sprawling over 100,000 sq. ft. But in November 2020, Netflix decided to extend that area.
It added ten new sound stages, training facilities, backlots, and post-production services. Plus, the company also allowed another billion dollars for upcoming projects. It even built a replica of the Las Vegas Strip for Zack Snyder's 2021 movie Army of the Dead. Overall, the company made the New Mexico facility the largest film production complex in North America.
People's reaction to the deal
Tim Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque, commented that the production hub highlights the city's "strong film economy" and connects it to one of the biggest companies in the world. Alicia J. Keyes, Cabinet Secretary under Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, said Netflix is their partner, and both the company and the city are equally investing in each other.
On the one hand, where Keller and Keyes thought of Netflix's production hub as an economic development strategy, people like Pat Garofalo thought of it as a substantial risk.
Director of state and local policy at the American Economic Liberties Project, Pat Garofalo, stated that deals like these give rise to “perpetual competitive purgatory.” He explained that such deals take more from states and cities than the companies coming to these places.