HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- After two years of delays, the Falcon Hill project has an official start date.
A ground-breaking ceremony on the project's first building, owned by Northrop Grumman, will be held at Hill Air Force Base on Oct. 27, at 10 a.m., and feature Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah as guest speakers.
"We're finally going to kick it off," said Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Utah. "The leases have been signed and we're ready to go."
In September, an agreement was reached with Falcon Hill's first tenant, Northrop Grumman, and the project's private developer Sunset Ridge Development Partners LLC, clearing the way for construction to begin on the largest enhanced-use lease project in the history of the Air Force.
The project encompasses 550 acres on the base and is a $1.5 billion public-private venture of the state, Hill and Woodbury Corporation.
Terms of the partnership call for Sunset Ridge to finance, build and maintain 8 million square feet of office space and supporting restaurants and hotels on 550 acres on Hill's west side.
In return, Hill will receive 1.6 million square feet of office space at no cost for Air Force projects. The remainder will be leased out to government agencies, defense contractors and other private agencies.
Adams, who serves as chair of the Military Installation Development Authority, the group that facilitates negotiations between private developers and the Air Force, said the first building paves the way for other companies to come.
"It's the catalyst for all these other business to come in," he said. "This is the first step in a process that will make Hill more competitive for years to come."
In addition to Northrop Grumman's building, which will be situated just inside the base's west gate, adjacent to Hill's 526th Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Group, new construction will also include a new gatehouse and a new security forces building.
Darrin Wray, chief of the Enhanced Use Lease office at Hill, said the new gate house will be constructed in the spring and take approximately 8-12 months to be completed.
Utility and road work leading into the new gate will likely begin in November, Wray said.
"You are really going to see the face of the base change in these next few months," he said.