SANTA TERESA — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Doña Ana County officials on Friday celebrated promised upgrades and improvements to the county airport near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry to prepare for the first long-term tenant term of the installation.
In a speech, County Chairman Manny Sanchez said, “Sitting here at the intersection of three states and two nations, close to a major rail line and the interstate system, there is one thing that all the world here in New Mexico and across the country needs to know: we are ready to grow here in Santa Teresa.”
Doña Ana County commissioners unanimously approved a 30-year lease with Burrell Aviation in July. Jetport chief Bill Provance said at the time that the company planned to build air cargo handling and cold storage facilities, a distribution center and aircraft maintenance hangars at a cost of $72 million. dollars over three years. The amount of the lease is $372,860 annually for the use of just over 45 acres.
On Friday, Burrell Group founder and CEO Dan Burrell said the company would invest up to $150 million thereafter.
“We think we’re going to reach a footprint of over 500 or 600 jobs over the next few years,” he said. A statement from Lujan Grisham’s office estimated 1,300 jobs. Because Burrell Aviation does not receive state Department of Economic Development grants based on employment goals, the company is not obligated to meet either number.
The deal with Burrell, however, was dependent on public investment. On the one hand, the jetport would need to strengthen its capacity to receive larger and heavier cargo planes. The county is making $3.19 million in improvements to the jetport, funded by a combination of federal grants, New Mexico transportation and capital spending dollars, and the jetport’s own operating budget.
“We asked for no state funding, no state aid,” Burrell said during his remarks. “We really just asked the local community…to support us.”
The Burrell Group’s holdings include a range of businesses in construction, restaurants, real estate, financial services, careers and medical education. Dan Burrell was a co-founder of Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces, although he is not currently affiliated with the school.
Lujan Grisham was outspoken in saying the investment was aimed at competing with neighboring Texas for trade with Mexico, and hinted that another announcement related to economic development in the region may follow soon.
“We’re positioned in an incredible way,” she said. “If you don’t have the hangars and you don’t have the maintenance, and you don’t have the offloading and you don’t have any of that infrastructure, we can have as many runways as we want, but we can”t support the kind of commercialization this region is ready for. »
“We want all the success we can get to happen here,” she continued, “and you can continue to count on us to make those investments the priority.”