New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will visit Santa Teresa for the ninth time in three years Monday to announce the openings of two more industrial plants.
The expansions by El Paso’s W Silver Recycling and a logistics yard for ocean-freight containers, both in the Santa Teresa industrial park, represent the latest in a string of industries that have moved there to be close to growing the port of entry, Union Pacific’s sprawling rail yard and El Paso. More than 35 companies operate in the park.
Officials would not reveal the name of the logistics company that is to be identified on Monday.
But Martinez has made no secret of the fact that she sees her state as a competitor to Texas when it comes to border trade and industrial development.
“I think we in New Mexico have finally gotten it,” said Jerry Pacheco, president of Santa Teresa’s Global Perspectives Integrated Inc., an international trade and project management company. “The border is not a problem, it is an opportunity.”
That’ll be especially true when the Union Pacific completes its massive, $400-million, 2,200-acre rail yard near the Santa Teresa Airport next year, ahead of schedule.
An estimated 3,000 workers will be involved in that construction project, and it will employ 600 when fully operational.
They will need homes, Pacheco said, and local developers and homebuilders are moving fast to meet the demand.
They include San Brown’s Tierra Santa, a 1,000-home development between the city of Sunland Park and Santa Teresa and the 458-acre Villa Valencia development by Russell Hanson and Winton homes, Pacheco said.
“They are building entry-level homes, and that’s what we need – homes for the workers,” said Pacheco, who is also executive director of the International Business Accelerator.
In addition, he said, construction will start next month on Santa Teresa’s first hotel.
The 56-room Oak Tree Hotel with an all-night Penny’s Diner will go up near the rail yard.
Southwest Steel Coil’s story is a good example of what is happening in the industrial park.
The company had 13 employees last year when it added 20,000-square feet to its plant. The company now has 30 employees and is adding another 35,000-square feet to keep up with the demand for precision manufacturing.
The U.S. Small Business Administration named Ed Camden, Southwest Steel’s president, as its 2013 Exporter of the Year for the five-state Region VI. He was recognized for increasing sales, employment and exports.
Just down Airport Road is the 50,000 square-foot Mallory Metal Products plant.
Driving toward the Santa Teresa port of entry last week, Pacheco pointed to the construction of the area’s first Ueta duty-free shop a short distance from the port and to a large clearing where construction of a new commercial inspection facility is under way.
That project, Pacheco said, goes with a pilot project to station U.S. customs officers on the Mexican side of the border to inspect U.S.-bound containers.
Most of the containers will be coming from the nearby FoxConn electronics plant.
The New Mexico Legislature has appropriated $350,000 to add a new, dedicated lane at the port for precleared containers headed north – a simple project compared with what it would take to add a lane to one of El Paso’s international bridges.
Construction is wrapping up on Strauss Road, an unusual six-mile highway with a special 30-inch-deep concrete base that will link the Pete Domenici Highway to the Union Pacific site.
Pacheco said the Border Industrial Association successfully lobbied the Legislature for an overweight zone to permit super-heavy trailers that would not be allowed on regular roads and was behind the $10-million appropriation for the concrete highway.
“It’s just a shame to have all this stuff going on around here and to have the Santa Teresa Country Club in the condition it is,” Pacheco said. “That should be our convention center.”
Email El Paso Inc. reporter David Crowder at email@example.com or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 122 and (915) 630-6622.