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Developer begins construction on innovation center at Hill AFB

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- Developers at Hill Air Force Base are breaking ground on another new construction project this week, creating more space for new jobs near the base.

Air Force and Utah officials participated in a ceremony March 3, 2017, to mark the progress at Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park. The new 21,000-square-foot building will be leased by the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative, which will operate an Innovation Center in the building.

The USTAR Innovation Center will focus on providing the tools and resources needed to support start-up companies in maturing and commercializing their technology. Once complete, the new facility will house approximately 8,000 square feet of office space and state-of-the-art labs, and 13,000 square feet of space dedicated to manufacturing, research and development projects.

“Having USTAR at Falcon Hill is a significant boon for the community here, and is just the first of many ‘outside the fence’ tech-focused office projects we envision for this area,” said Taylor Woodbury, the chief operating officer at Woodbury Corporation. “Much like the Silicon Slopes area down south, our goal is for this new USTAR building to be the cornerstone of the Silicon Hill movement that will help create a thriving tech community in northern Utah.”

In addition to Hill’s vital national defense mission, the base is an economic hub for Utah, providing a $3.34 billion impact annually. The base hosts the Air Force’s first operational F-35A Lighting II wing and is home to maintenance on several aircraft, including the Air Force’s fifth generation fighters – the F-22 Raptor and the F-35. The base is also home to the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Directorate, which will oversee the $62 billion replacement program for the Minuteman III missile.

The project is part of the ongoing Enhanced Use Lease Program at Hill AFB, one of the largest projects of its kind in the Defense Department.

“It’s exciting to see new organizations capitalize on the benefits of our EUL program. As the Falcon Hill project continues to grow we hope to see similar private and public projects that will add synergy to the Air Force mission,” said Col. Jennifer Hammerstedt, the 75th Air Base Wing commander.

The program allows the Air Force to lease land to a developer to create and lease commercial space and infrastructure. The new building is expected to be complete in late 2017.

“We’re continuing to see the benefits of this program at Hill,” said David Williamsen, the chief of the EUL Program Office here. “The benefit to the Air Force is affordable infrastructure and the synergy created by having contractors being able to work on the Air Force mission either on the base or in close proximity to the base.”

Falcon Hill is the first EUL program of its kind to be entirely market-driven, Williamsen said. This is the seventh major construction project completed by Sunset Ridge Development Partners as part of the EUL project. The most recently-completed office building, now occupied by Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Directorate, opened in December 2014. A retail facility, housing Starbucks Coffee, opened in 2015.

Over the life of the program, more than 100 potential projects both inside and immediately outside Hill AFB gates may be completed. In the coming months, the developer plans to begin construction on a new, 74,000-square-foot software building on base.

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