Media

Rio Rancho mayor says new data shows evolution toward a ‘stand-alone city’

FROM RACHEL SAPIN | ALBUQUERQUE BUSINESS FIRST

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said 2016 marked a big year for jobs, retail and housing in the state’s third-largest city.

“We’re pushing away from a bedroom community concept to becoming a stand-alone city,” Hull told more than 100 attendees at the NAIOP New Mexico chapter’s roundtable and state of the city presentation at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center Thursday.

He said 2016 marked one of the biggest for jobs, particularly with Safelite continuing to fill its hiring goal of 900 contact center jobs for its location in Rio Rancho’s former Sprint building over the next three years. He said along with PCM adding over 200 jobs in 2016, Rio Rancho would see a payroll increase of $34 million for companies within the city limits.

“Safelite is hiring still. They’re trying to add 400 jobs today,” Hull said. “There’s been a lot of public-private partnership in this particular project. We hope to see a lot more of this in 2017.”

Safelite has about $1.5 billion in annual revenue, and is planning for annual payroll at its Rio Rancho customer service center to total around $23 million when it opens in February.

Hull also touted the addition of businesses in 2016 that included developers and medical office users flocking to Unser Gateway, a growing part of Rio Rancho anchored by Presbyterian’s Rust Medical Center. That’s in addition to Burkes Outlet, Ross, Verizon and Petsmart filling out the Plaza @ Enchanted Hills.

Hull said the city was on an upswing with more than 500 homes being constructed in 2016.

“This is the best year we’ve seen since 2009,” he said.

He added that the city was able to complete necessary road improvements in 2016, thanks to voters approving a $9 million general obligation road bond.

This year, Hull said the city will also see economic gains from a $3 million water treatment facility slated to be completed in May to reuse water rather than discharge it into the Rio Grande.

Hull said some of that water could be used by manufacturers, attracting new businesses.