A new manufacturer is slated to sweep into Valencia County, bringing with it 250 jobs.
Dallas-based Arcosa, Inc., and N.M. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday, March 14, the opening of a wind-tower production facility in the Rio Grande Industrial Park, south of the city of Rio Communities.
Arcosa Wind Towers, an Arcosa, Inc. subsidiary, will occupy the former Keter Plastics manufacturing plant, which closed in the spring of 2020.
According to a press release from the state’s economic development department, Arcosa has received new orders for wind towers totaling $750 million, with the majority of those for projects in New Mexico and the Southwest.
From across the river, the city of Belen is planning assistance through industrial revenue bonds, according to the same press release.
IRBs are issued by a government agency to provide money for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation and equipping of manufacturing and processing facilities for private companies.
The city isn’t indebted for the amount of the bonds issued and, in most cases, the issuing agency has ownership rights of the property until the bonds are repaid.
“I am pleased to welcome Arcosa Wind Towers to Belen and Valencia County. The anticipated creation of 250 jobs is vital to our local workforce and economy,” said Belen Mayor Robert Noblin. “I am excited that Belen and Valencia County have been chosen by a company that brings over 85 years of expertise to infrastructure-related projects and look forward to having them in our community.”
Arcosa expects to have an annual New Mexico payroll of $12.5 million and the project is estimated to have an economic impact of $314 million over the next 10 years.
The company plans to invest $55 to $60 million to purchase the property, modify the existing plant and procure equipment.
Production at the facility is expected to begin in mid-2024, with current orders and backlog providing production through 2028.
Belen’s Development Services Director Steven Tomita said the company will bring a major economic boost to the city and Valencia County.
“Belen has played a major role in the development of the industrial park over the years, including construction of the rail spur and bringing in the industrial manufacturers,” Tomita said in the release.
The Belen City Council approved $40 million in IRBs to seal the deal with Keter more than five years ago.
Joshua Kerns, community and economic development director for Belen, said Arcosa Wind Towers is a leading manufacturer of structural wind towers in North America.
“To have a company that is so highly respected in North America coming to Belen is a huge step in our growth and shows how the city of Belen is dedicated to industrial businesses coming into our community,” Kerns said, according to the release.
The Arcosa Wind Towers facility will service the increased demand in wind-energy development, in part fueled by the federal Inflation Reduction Act passed in August 2022.
New Mexico was chosen over other locations due to its supportive partnerships and competitive incentives, the company said in the press release.
“We look forward to expanding our manufacturing capacity to New Mexico, where market demand for new wind projects is robust,” said Antonio Carrillo, president and CEO of Arcosa, Inc. “Our new facility will strengthen our position in the wind-tower market and enable Arcosa to benefit from growing wind investment in the Southwest.
“We are pleased to create new jobs in the state of New Mexico, which has been a supportive partner and a strong proponent of wind-energy development.”
Lujan Grisham has identified sustainable energy as a target industry to receive additional strategic economic development assistance as New Mexico diversifies its economy to attract higher-paying jobs, the press release noted. Arcosa Wind Towers is one of several new businesses that has chosen to expand or relocate to the state since the governor-led Energy Transition Act became law in 2019.
“The transition to clean energy brings with it more diversified, higher-paying and skilled jobs,” Lujan Grisham said. “Arcosa is repurposing an old factory for new investments in our state and our communities — this is a win-win.”
The state of New Mexico is contributing $4 million from its Local Economic Development Act job-creation fund to assist with the New Mexico manufacturing expansion. Funding will be provided as the company meets agreed-upon economic development benchmarks.
“EDD’s strategy to focus on job-rich industries and bring better quality jobs to New Mexico is working,” said Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes. “Now we need to build on our successes and move forward to aggressively support the growth of new and existing businesses that can improve the lives of our families and the health of our communities.”
The company will not only qualify for LEDA but can apply for assistance through EDD’s Job Training Incentive Program, which reimburses companies for a portion of employee training costs.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.