By LISA MONTI
NASA is looking for a private sector partner to develop and operate a technology park on 1,100 federally owned acres in the northern portion of Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis.
Don Beckmeyer, NASA’s manager of strategic business development at Stennis, said the technology corridor named Enterprise Park will support future activities of commercial space transportation companies, including some already at the Hancock County center. Stennis is NASA’s primary rocket propulsion test center for government and commercial customers. It is home to more than 40 federal, state, academic and commercial entities employing approximately 5,000 people. Tenants include Rolls Royce North America, Aerojet Rocketdyne and SpaceX.
“We looked around and saw a lot of activity in the commercial space industry, and also some tenants on site that have things planned in the future we thought we could accommodate,” he said. The developer would lease the land from the government, build out the park, recruit tenants and manage the day to day operation.
NASA put out an official Notice of Availability Dec. 4 to identify a private or public entity to lead the development, marketing and longterm day to day operation of the park. The deadline to respond is Jan. 12. “We have had some interest,” Beckmeyer said in mid December. Stennis will host an Industry Day on Feb. 7, for those who want more information.
NASA wants a private sector developer because they have more flexibility and experience than a government agency to undertake such a project, Beckmeyer said. “We believe a master developer could utilize some of their best practices such as offering creative financing and be more effective at marketing as well,” he said.
The wooded property to be developed has access to Mississippi 607. Two spaces have been certified as Project Ready industrial sites by Mississippi Power. One is a 250-acre site on the north end of the park and the other is 150 acres on the south end.
Access to Stennis Space Center is restricted but only some of the new Enterprise Park will be inside the security perimeter, Beckmeyer said. That unrestricted access could be an asset to some tenants who don’t want or need it.
The 1,100 acres to be developed for the first phase of the Enterprise Park is only a portion of the 13,800 government owned acres at Stennis, so there is much more land available adjacent to the area for growth, Beckmeyer said.
The need for the park was identified by the center’s master plan to allow private sector participation in the nation’s space exploration efforts and to create opportunities for companies to locate at Stennis in support of the work being done by the federal agencies operating there.
For more information, go to FedBizOpps.gov (reference NOA # 80SSC018L0004). Offi-cial responses to the Notice of Availability are due on Jan. 12.
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