Las Cruces could finally see the development of a high-tech sound stage designed to help movie and television companies do their productions in the city.
Members of the Las Cruces City Council have approved a proposal calling for the city to enter into negotiations with the Omaha, Nebraska-based T&G Investments to develop the facility.
T&G, which specializes in public private partnerships, has a lengthy record of developing and building hospitals and sports arenas, among other entities.
Economic Development Director Philip San Fillipo said that although Las Cruces had earlier considered taking on the project itself, it was ultimately decided that a public private partnership “will make it grow into the kind of project we need.”
As currently envisioned, the sound stage will be built inside the 175-acre Arrowhead Park on the campus of New Mexico State University.
Because of that location, T&G will also be entering into partnerships with both NMSU and Dona Ana Community College.
Although city officials, as well as the industry group Film Las Cruces, have pushed to locate the new sound stage in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant at 2100 S. Valley Drive, T&G ultimately decided to go with the Arrowhead Park location.
Speaking last month before members of the Las Cruces City Council, Cassie Paben, business development director for T&G, said the Arrowhead Park location was chosen because it would allow the sound stage more room to grow.
Sound stage supporters in Las Cruces, including most prominently Film Las Cruces, have for more than 5 years now advocated the economic benefits of having such a facility in the city. They have argued that without it Las Cruces cannot compete for movie and television production work that currently goes to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Las Cruces has in reserve just over $3.8 million from different sources for a project that is ultimately expected to cost $10 million to build.
The additional cost, as proposed, will be picked up by T&G.
If all of the final details can be worked out, construction on the facility could start at the end of this year.
By Garry Boulard
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