Monday, July 7, 2008

Rio Rancho Readies Path for Digital Media

Discussions of a production facility in Rio Rancho have been going on for years with groups such as Lionsgate (which does a great deal of production in New Mexico). Will the Digital Media Group with long-time fans of New Mexico Elliott Lewitt and Debra Rosen be the first to break ground?

From the Albuquerque Journal:

Rio Rancho can negotiate on studio
By Rosalie Rayburn
Journal Staff Writer
RIO RANCHO — City councilors here have approved a resolution authorizing city staff to negotiate with a group that wants to establish a digital media center downtown.
The resolution includes an amendment proposed by Councilor Larry Naranjo that requires the proposed City of Vision Studios to produce “verifiable” proof of financial backing by Dec. 31 and draw up an economic development agreement with city staff by March.
Naranjo suggested that requiring the group to pay a deposit or supply letters of credit for building and construction costs might be acceptable proof. Naranjo said city staff could determine the amount of deposit required.
If the group is unable to prove it has financing to fulfill its plans, the resolution would be considered “null and void,” he said.
City of Vision Studios asked the city to make available up to 14 acres in Rio Rancho's new downtown area for its proposed media center.
The group's principals, former city councilor Joseph Cordova, film industry veteran Price Hall, producer Elliott Lewitt and Debra Rosen, a former film commissioner for South Carolina, want to build a center that could do film restoration, animation, special effects, medical imaging and data recovery work...

Rio Rancho in 2006 approved an incentive package to help Lionsgate build a film studio in the downtown area, but the film company has yet to break ground.
Cordova told the Journal the group is talking to several interested investors who were waiting for Rio Rancho to show its support. He was confident the group would be able to meet the deadline to show proof of financing.
Cordova said the center would be a “more than $100 million” project and cover at least 800,000 square feet.
He said the group is also working with Sandoval County to secure its support to help facilitate the purchase, if necessary, of additional land from the State Land Office.

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