A local ammunition manufacturer, believed to be one of the few in New Mexico, has been fulfilling contracts since June in a Roswell International Air Center building renovated especially for it.
Both the type of business — and the partnership between the city of Roswell and the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. to renovate Building 60 — were described as unique for the area by local leaders.
“We are looking to a great future here,” said Pete Charnisky, one of the owners of Red Mountain Arsenal, as he introduced his two current employees, Daryl Dudley and Aggie Sanchez Tydalska.
Charnisky and his employees hosted a grand opening celebration Wednesday afternoon coordinated by the Economic Development Corp. City staff, city councilors and Chaves County commissioners, as well as local business representatives, attended.
Red Mountain Arsenal decided to locate in Roswell after looking at places in several states because of the suitability of the building and the renovation deal.
The $625,000 renovation, a complete overhaul of the building, was funded mostly by the city, with $30,000 from the EDC and $15,000 from Charnisky.
The project was delivered under budget, said Bud Kunkel, chairman of the EDC, which served as the project manager of the build-out that began in October. Holloway Construction Co. was general contractor.
The building at 520 E. Challenger St. was designed as a munitions facility when it was part of a military base, but in recent years it has been used to store airplane furnishings. Now Red Mountain Arsenal will pay $2,923 a month, or about $4 a square foot, which is about double the average rent paid at the air center, Kunkel said. The initial lease is for five years, with the option to renew four more times for five years each time.
“This represents a creative, bold effort to try to deal with upgrading system infrastructure,” said Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh. “This is an example of thinking outside the box. We had never done it that way. It was not a response that was acceptable to the EDC or the city, and so I think that is one of the key takeaways from this — the willingness of those folks who were (involved with this) to think boldly, act aggressively and see true rewards based upon that. So I want to say thank you and congratulations, Pete, and we look forward to seeing this blossom in the future.”
Charnisky said his company is focusing now on supplying military and government clients, as well as some local ammunition sellers.
He said that the company plans to add a couple of more employees in the short-term and would like to expand to 20 to 25 employees within 10 years. He added that any future expansion beyond the one building is expected to occur in Roswell.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.