Could a building in Farmington be repurposed as a film studio?

Farmington MRA Commission discusses future film studio

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington officials want the new film studio planned for this county to locate in the city's redevelopment zone. In this file photo, a scene from the 2014 movie "Beyond the Reach" films downtown on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — The City of Farmington hopes San Juan County will use $1 million of capital outlay funds to create a film studio inside city limits, and potentially within the Metropolitan Redevelopment Area.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Area consists of the downtown, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington Civic Center, Boyd Park and neighborhoods surrounding those four areas.

The studio will host film crews and allow them to set up props and use a sound studio, Farmington Economic Development Director Warren Unsicker told the MRA Commission during a Tuesday meeting.

“The hope is that we can help with the catalyzation of that project,” he said.

Unsicker said there are a limited number of properties available that could be used for a film studio, however he believes there are several properties in Farmington that may meet the needs.

Warren Unsicker.

The film studio is intended to bring economic benefits to the county, and Farmington hopes to capitalize on those benefits.

“This is something that could potentially generate jobs,” Unsicker said.

Most of those jobs would not be directly connected to the studio, however Unsicker said the facility would lead to the creation of other jobs. For example, the filmmakers could hire local workers to build props.

He said the county and city could also work with San Juan College to develop curriculum for students interested in working in the film industry. He highlighted the college’s existing media arts program.

Film crew members work on the set, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, for the movie, "Beyond the Reach" along South Auburn Avenue in Farmington.

“My feeling is that this is an important thing for our city,” said MRA Commission Chairman John McNeill.

He said the money the county receives could be spent in any local municipality or even in unincorporated areas. McNeill said Farmington should work to incentivize the county to locate the film studio within Farmington city limits.

While discussions are underway about the future film studio, officials say filmmakers are currently filming projects in San Juan County and the Farmington area.

“There are several going on as we speak,” Unsicker told the commission.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at