Project Magellan is the worst best-kept secret in Brevard County. A lot of people know at least something about an impending arrival, but the “who” remains a mystery (at press time).
Officials are citing confidentiality on a deal that isn’t quite done—but could result in millions of dollars to the local economy.
This much we know: The project has the potential to deliver up to 1,800 six-figure jobs through 2020, including 250 jobs by year end, along with $500 million in capital investment to the airport. And the financial runway has been cleared for takeoff. In March, the Legislature needed mere minutes to approve $20.8 million in incentives. Then, Melbourne Airport Authority unanimously approved a lease arrangement with Space Florida that has Project Magellan constructing a 216,000-square-foot building on airport property and renovating an existing building. Space Florida would actually sublease the property.
A few other details have emerged. A master ground lease for an initial phase is in place for 20 acres with a term of 10 years plus additional lease options. A second phase of development would encompass another 11.6 acres.
Intricate (and silent) negotiations with Project Magellan have involved, among others, the Florida Legislature, Space Florida, Brevard County, the City of Melbourne and the Melbourne Airport Authority.
No one was talking … yet.
Editor’s Note: On May 8, after the magazine was printed, Northrop Grumman Corp. was confirmed as the company behind Project Magellan.
Atlas and Dragon
In April, Cape Canaveral once again found itself at the center of the space-commercialization universe. On April 10, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 41 on a classified flight to deliver the NROL-67 satellite into orbit for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Eight days later, Falcon 9, carrying the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, lifted off from Complex 40. During the mission, Dragon delivered nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station, including equipment and more than 150 science experiments.
A simulated Mars environment in Titusville? Maybe. 4Frontiers Corp., based in New Port Richey, has designs on creating Interspace Florida at Space Coast Regional Airport, where visitors can experience the surface of Mars in a 22,000-square-foot themed attraction. At present, NewSpace Center LLC, a subsidiary, is raising the funds needed to begin construction on phase one. Officials hope to begin construction on the “Red Planet” next year.
The Race is On
There’s no more waiting for the flag to come down on ONE DAYTONA. The planned retail/dining/entertainment complex, located directly across from Daytona International Speedway, waved in its first two anchor tenants through signed leases, Bass Pro Shops and Cobb Theatres.
A joint venture between International Speedway Corp. and Jacoby Development, the project is intended to be anything but a pit stop. The $812 million plan calls for up to 1.4 million square feet of mix-used development, also including office, hotel and residential space, even parcels for research and development. Phase one contains 1.1 million square feet, with an early-2016 scheduled opening that would coincide with the anticipated finish of a $400 million renovation at the Speedway, Daytona Rising.
Officials expect an economic windfall. Work on phase one will support more than 4,700 construction jobs, resulting in a total economic impact of $583 million to the region. Also, the project is projected to raise area property values and sales tax revenues. Not surprisingly, the City of Daytona Beach and county government contributed a combined nearly $45 million to help with infrastructure costs.
Business in Pasco County received a substantial boost with the state’s approval of $128 million to advance two widening projects along Interstate 75. They hadn’t been scheduled to begin for five years. With the funding, work has started on a 7.8-mile stretch of I-75 just north of State Road 52 to the Pasco/Hernando County line. Also, at press time workers were getting ready to start on an additional 6.7-mile segment of the interstate, from north of County Road 54 to north of State Road 52. The projects are intended to accommodate current and future traffic growth in the area, create jobs, and enhance public safety and emergency evacuation.
An expansion of Tampa Electric Co.’s Polk Power Station promises to put a charge into the county’s economy. Tabbed at $700 million, the work is designed to increase efficiency at the station’s four natural gas power plants, ultimately generating enough to power more than 100,000 homes. The scheduled completion date is January 2017. TECO serves 69,000 customers in Auburndale, Eagle Lake, Lake Alfred, Mulberry, Polk City and Winter Haven.
Swinging For Sports
Lake County has added a new tool to attract events—a website dedicated to showing off its sports venues and facilities (sportsinlakefl.com). Developed in-house by the county’s Economic Development & Tourism Department, the website includes a searchable facilities guide and map; a calendar of sports-related events; resources for both visitors and event organizers including hotel, vendor and facility information; and a listing of local contacts. County officials hope to make hosting a sports event a “no-brainer.”