Netflix is opening a production hub in Albuquerque, where it plans to produce some of its films and TV shows, in an announcement that represents a snub of Los Angeles.
The streaming giant said it’s in final talks to purchase ABQ Studios, a facility with eight sound stages, production offices and a back lot in Albuquerque’s Mesa Del Sol. Netflix says it will use the new studio for production of its irreverent apocalypse dramedy Daybreak, supernatural drama Chambers, and epic, suspenseful drama Messiah.
Chambers and Messiah are currently being produced in the Albuquerque area.
The state of New Mexico offered Netflix incentives to locate in the self-proclaimed “land of enchantment,” extending $10 million in funding through the Local Economic Development Act. The City of Albuquerque ponied up another $4.5 million.
“After years of hard work to cut taxes and make New Mexico business-friendly we’re seeing incredible results,” New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said in a statement, saying Netflix would bring $1 billion in production to new Mexico over the next 10 years and create as many as 1,000 jobs.
Production space has grown increasingly scarce in Los Angeles, as tech newcomers vie with traditional media companies for sound stages. FilmLA found the occupancy rate for sound stages in the city hovering around 96% in 2016, the last year for which data is available.
Some of Netflix’s digital rivals have taken steps to lock up production facilities. Apple said it would lease a building in Culver City, and Amazon Studios moved into the historic Culver Studios where Hollywood such classics as Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane were filmed.
Netflix isn’t exactly abandoning LA. Just last week, it signed a lease to occupy an entire 13-story office building in Hollywood. Still, the streaming giant said it has found New Mexico to be well-suited for production, with its hospitable climate, great exteriors and interiors and an experienced crew who’ve built infrastructure in the years since the city provided the backdrop for Breaking Bad.
It previously produced the Emmy-winning limited series Godless, The Ridiculous Six and Longmire in the state.
“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to
establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix’s VP Physical Production. “The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”
This marks the company’s first purchase of a production studio complex.