Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems (UAS) park in Grand Forks County, N.D., is now open and taking applications for built-to-suit site tenancy.
Backed by a consortium of private equity investors seeking commercial UAS opportunities, Grand Sky is seeking tenants and owner occupants who will engage in UAS testing, evaluation, research, development and operations. Construction on the project – offering 1.2 million square feet of hangar, office, shop, laboratory and data center space – is scheduled to begin this spring.
The U.S. Air Force, Grand Forks County and Grand Sky Development Co. recently commemorated the execution of an enhanced use lease (EUL) during a ceremony at Grand Forks Air Force Base – officially marking the commencement of the park's development.
According to project organizers, the community-led collaboration is a new approach to creating and executing EUL projects. ‘Grand Sky will be the first commercial drone airport in the U.S.,’ says Thomas Swoyer Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Co.
‘This unprecedented public/private venture between the Air Force, county and the private sector will allow government and private firms to have a home base as they fly their drones in North Dakota and around the country,” he explains.
Grand Sky is a lease of Air Force property for a period of 50 years, and Grand Forks County owns the lease on the property with the Air Force. The county awarded a sublease to Grand Sky Development Co. for the purpose of developing the project.
‘Investment in Grand Sky will create jobs in the aerospace sector for North Dakota,’ Swoyer says. ‘It's a business that isn't subject to fluctuation in commodity pricing. Grand Sky will create hundreds of jobs and attract tens of millions in private investments as we establish a new home base for drones in the U.S.’