Atlantic County Receives $3 Million Federal Grant To advance the second building of the Aeronautical Research Park
Atlantic County received a $3 million grant from USEDA to construct a second building at the National Aviation Research and Technology Park (NARTP) in Egg Harbor Township. The planned two-story, 40,000-square-foot research office building will house at least three aviation technology companies and is located in a designated Federal Opportunity Zone.
“This project will help strengthen Atlantic County’s growing aerospace cluster, attract additional investment and provide much-needed diversification to the regional economy,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson.
The estimated cost of the new building is $11 million. The project should generate 165 additional technological jobs. The first NARTP building was completed in 2019 and is fully occupied. It created 300 new jobs.
“I am extremely happy to see the NARTP move so quickly to the next level of development,” noted Levinson. “Atlantic County has played a key role in advancing the NARTP because we recognized the potential of aviation as an economic catalyst and the need to expand our economy and become less dependent on tourism and gaming alone. Home to the world’s best aeronautical testing and certification labs at the FAA Tech Center and the adjoining Atlantic City International Airport, this region has a lot to offer and businesses are clearly starting to recognize it.
Levinson also expressed his gratitude to Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as Congressman Jeff Van Drew, for their active support in helping Atlantic County receive this award.
“Given the current partisanship in Washington, DC, it’s refreshing to see our representatives working toward a common goal,” he said.
The Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA) applied for the grant on behalf of the county with assistance from Triad Associates of Vineland, NJ. The CFIA will be allocated a parcel of land from the NARTP and will construct the new building and lease it to an opportunity area investment group, Atlantic County O3, LLC (ACO3) who will provide the remainder of the financing. ACO3 will then operate and manage the building in accordance with FAA ground lease requirements.
“We believe the development of the National Aeronautical Research and Technology Park has significant potential to expand and diversify Atlantic County’s economy,” said ACO3 Partner Len Schwartz.
“Designating the Opportunity Zone will not only attract additional investors to our investment team, but the benefits could also accrue to potential NARTP tenants,” added ACO3 Partner Chuck Lesnick. “We look forward to working with our team in Atlantic County to make this project a success.”
The CFIA managed the construction of the first NARTP building. According to its executive director John Lamey, preliminary construction work for Building Two has begun with site clearance and the start of surveying and permitting processes. A first official sod is expected before the end of the year.
The NARTP is attracting strong interest from companies working in the emerging fields of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and advanced air mobility (AAM). Recently, the FAA announced that under a multi-year agreement, NASA will use NARTP workspace for AAM-related projects. The FAA also announced in early March that it would begin testing technologies aimed at preventing manned aircraft from colliding with drones. Woolpert Aviation, tenant of the NARTP, is working on this project at Atlantic City International Airport.
The NARTP is located in an aviation innovation hub that connects the FAA Tech Center, Atlantic City International Airport, and the surrounding one-mile area. The state government has recognized the Aviation Innovation Hub in the Economic Recovery Act of 2020 as New Jersey’s only “Aviation District”, offering job-creating businesses their maximum tax credit incentives.
In August 2019, the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, which works closely with NARTP, received a $1.6 USEDA Challenge grant to accelerate UAS and Smart Airport technologies at NARTP. ACEA will assist in soliciting and selecting aviation companies as tenants of the second and subsequent buildings. Potential tenants range from large aerospace companies to start-ups.
“The expansion of the aeronautical park will not only bring more tenants, it will lead to further development of the private sector with a need for scientists and researchers as well as an increased demand for accommodation, hotels, restaurants, entertainment and other ancillary businesses,” the ACEA president said. Lauren H. Moore, Jr.
“Despite the challenges of the past year, we continue to make progress. This award furthers our economic strategy and vision for Atlantic County,” concluded Levinson.
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