Opportunities for local businesses begin to flourish
It might sound like a reach to some, but Virgin Galactic says there are lots of opportunities for developers to cash in on the creation of a shimmering space city around New Mexico’s Spaceport America in the Jornada east of Truth or Consequences.
Addressing the New Mexico Commercial Real Estate Development Association, NAIOP, Virgin Galactic Vice-President Will Pomeranz said each space tourist who comes here will bring an entourage that will need a complete spectrum of travel and tourist destination services. “They are going to be coming with their loved ones, their immediate family and most of them with a lot of others as well,” he said.
So, Pomeranz urged the New Mexico developers to consider investing in the construction of the facilities needed to cater to wealthy space tourists, calling them “a lot of individuals and a lot of companies who have a lot of walking-around money.”
“If you spend $200,000 on a luxury experience, you are probably willing to pay a fair amount for a hotel, and a meal and a rental car,” he added.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has pledged that public funds would not be used for commercial development at the spaceport.
NAIOP members are interested in filling the need.
“This is an industry that we haven’t seen,” said Drew Dolan, NAOIP Chairman. “And from tourism, to hospitality to commercial property, it’s going to be an opportunity for us in New Mexico.”
The new executive director of Spaceport America, Christine Anderson, said Virgin Galactic is not the only company coming to do business here.
“We also have several other paying tenants now and we hope to attract others, and we’ll be working toward that,” she said, adding “the industry is really growing.”
Anderson said she knows there is a lot of competition from other spaceports in other states and foreign countries. However, she thinks there will be enough business for all. “I really think that this is a growing market and in 20, 30 years, this will be commonplace,” she said.
Anderson also promised extensive public access and unique opportunities for students.
Virgin estimates it will be about a year and a half at the earliest before the first paying passengers ride rockets at Spaceport America.
Tickets presently cost $200,000 each, but Pomeranz said with volume in future years, prices might be reduced to about $30,000 each.