One year later, however, there’s still little to see at the public-private partnership, between the federal government via Hill Air Force Base, and Sunset Ridge Development Partners.
There still is hope, however, that construction will begin before year’s end.
“It’s been moving forward, but things like this take time," said Rick Mayfield. He’s executive director of MIDA, the Military Installation Development Authority created by the state to coordinate this and other similar public/private developments.
“With the U.S. Government involved, they have to go through a couple of layers to get things approved. That takes a little more time,” he said. “The sheer size, number of entities involved” also add to any time frame. “It’s probably a month or two longer than we thought it would be, but I think we’re moving along at a good pace.
“I think in the next month you'll see dust turn,” the former Davis County Director of Community & Economic Development said.
That scenario was basically mimicked by Eric Castle, Air Force project manager.
“We’re planning to see the start of construction by the end of this year,” he said. “Right now, we’re hoping to start construction with the ICBM building (on the base perimeter), and the 37,000 square-foot Security Forces building, which will be built at another location on base.”
The intercontinental ballistic missile facility will house a private contractor, as yet unnamed. It will cover five stores and 200,000 square feet, or about the size of a high school.
“It will be the first commercial building built inside the fence,” as it’s called, or inside the base, Mark Holt, Air Force project engineer said.
Infrastructure plans are now in the works, he said, noting that work will likely begin by the end of the year with a majority of the work happening next spring.
“We’ve been working with a handful of others who have expressed interest in coming onto the campus (base),” Castle said. “A lot of them are on the fence,” figuratively, “with the economy.
“We feel this first facility (ICBM) will help to provide an anchor, help to trigger a lot of the interest, to convince people to move forward,” he said.
“We have some money from the Legislature to move ahead,” to help finance some of the project ($11 million),” Mayfield said. “But the key is new private businesses moving in.”
Woodbury Corporation, the privately-held Salt Lake City-based developer that has played big on the Utah scene for many years, is one of Sunset Ridge’s partners. That is the name of the private group formed to develop the project. Woodbury would not comment for this article. However, Mayfield didn’t find that unusual.
“Say you have a company come and talk to you about locating in there. It’s often a six-month to two year project. If you speak prematurely, and it gets back to headquarters, people could get alarmed that they might lose jobs, etc.” should the move actually happen, he explained. It’s impossible to pinpoint how many jobs will actually materialize at Falcon Hill, which is a long-term project, potentially spreading over a few decades.
“I would say 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in the next 10 to 15 years is a good benchmark,” he said. “It could be a lot more, after that, depending on the types of companies that come.”