For the first time in more than 10 years, Cummings Research Park in Huntsville is 91 percent occupied.
The park is now a total of 3,843 acres, and it features 300 companies and 26,500 employees. On Friday, WAAY 31 learned about some of the new additions that will be completed in the park over the next 18 months.
Our first stop on the tour of new additions to Cummings Research Park was a space for entrepreneurs. It will be completed in about one year, and it will house several different entrepreneurs who need the space to launch their ideas.
"At any given time, there could be 20 to 30 given companies in the facility, but the whole goal is for companies that are starting up, this would be a good start for them," said Larry Lewis, Project XYZ President.
The second stop was an old Catholic High School that has been vacant for years. Now, it will become a mixed use development with retail, office and hospitality spaces.
"To be able to get a cup of coffee really quickly, you don't have to go to University Drive. You can stay within the park," said Alex Samples of Samples Properties.
This space will be used for Blue Origin, a world-class rocket engine production facility. The rocket engines BE-3 and BE-4 will be built there. It will also be completed in about a year.
Our last stop was the Raytheon Warfighter visualization center. There we learned about the latest 3-D technology that Raytheon uses with its clients.
"Our biggest customer here is the missile defense agency, said Heather Scholan, Raytheon Senior Program Manager. "There is just an array of different products that we do to protect not only our nation, but our war fighters to be able to protect themselves."
The executive director of Cummings Research Park, Erin Koshut, said the city is planning an economic study next year to determine the impact the new developments will have on the Rocket City, but leaders expect it to be very lucrative.
"We are now seeing commercial investments here in the park that are continuing to diversify our economy. To have all of that in one location, to have that inside a research park that has a university and a community college and to be able to go from ninth grade to CEO is how we are going to be able to grow our community and recruit companies to join our smart place," said Koshut.