Early map of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Attracting businesses to a science and technology hub in the New Mexico desert
  • Population
    565,000 in 2020
  • EDA Investment
    $370,000 in 2001
    $1 million in 2004
    $1.1 million in 2006
    $600,000 in 2008

At first, the isolation was the point.

Built in the desert under the shadow of the Sandia Mountains, 10 miles east of downtown Albuquerque, Sandia National Laboratories’ original mission was to assist with the development of the atomic bomb.

But in the decades after World War II, Sandia grew to support a much wider range of national security research, from alternative energy to cybersecurity. With that shift, Sandia employees needed to collaborate with outside companies to promote technology transfer and national economic growth.

Sandia Science and Technology Park sign

That’s where the Sandia Science & Technology Park came in. Established in 1998, the master-planned, 340-acre technology community—on land that was once a landfill—created a place where companies could set up shop and have easy access to their partners at Sandia and Kirtland Air Force Base.

Twelve men and one woman in business clothes shovel dirt ceremonially at a groundbreaking event

Developing the Sandia Science & Technology Park required public and private investment, and EDA played a key role, with four grants between 2001 and 2008 totaling more than $3 million. EDA investment helped the Park install fiber-optic lines, a high-speed communications center, and security infrastructure improvements, upgrades that attracted businesses and allowed them to easily transition to their new professional home. Overall, the Park has drawn more than $410 million in investment from a collaborative of private and public entities, including the city and the state.

4 Billion

Beyond improving collaboration between companies and Sandia, the Park has been an economic development boon. The Sandia Science & Technology Park is now home to nearly 2,000 employees, 35 companies, and 27 buildings, generating $4 billion in economic activity between 1998 and 2021. It has also produced $166.1 million in tax revenue for the state of New Mexico and $36.6 million for the City of Albuquerque, and the average salary of a full-time job in the Park ($97,000) is nearly double the average salary in the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

Aerial view of Sandia Science and Technology Park

“Those numbers benefit everybody: the city, the state, everybody benefits from the success of the Park,” said Sherman McCorkle, chairman and CEO of the Sandia Science & Technology Park Development Corporation.


Images (in order of appearance):

  • Image courtesy of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
  • Image courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories and former EMCORE Corporation
  • Photo by Linda von Boetticher on behalf of Sandia National Laboratories
  • Photo by Norman Johnson Photography