HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
Many construction projects are either underway or are being planned on and around Hill Air Force Base, as development continues as part of an Enhanced Use Lease program known as Falcon Hill.
The EUL began in the mid-2000s, when it became clear to installation leaders that an innovative solution was needed for infrastructure that could sustain mission growth. In support of the base and in an effort to energize local economy, Utah legislation created the Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA, to manage state grants for infrastructure and highway improvements near federal installations.
An EUL allows the Air Force to competitively lease underutilized land to a private entity. The land is then developed for commercial purposes. In exchange, the Air Force collects cash or payment in kind, which is rental income that can be used to construct additional buildings.
“It was the largest commercial EUL in the Air Force and one of the largest projects in the Department of Defense,” said Brent Christensen, EUL Chief. “It’s proven to be very successful, and allowed us to continue to build commercial buildings through the EUL as well as construct new buildings on base.”
The EUL was a development agreement between the Air Force with Sunset Ridge Development Partners, who began development of a five-story, 150,000-square-foot commercial building on the base. It was the first building what’s known as the Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park. Several additional buildings have since been added.
In total, there are plans for eight million square feet to be developed over the next 25 years as part of the EUL. This includes office space, retail outlets, restaurants and hotels.
“The partnership with Falcon Hill represents many years of hard work, intense planning and unprecedented cooperation between the United States government, the State of Utah and our surrounding communities,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “The flexible arrangement we have with our private and public-sector partners allows us to agilely respond and quickly adapt to our ever-evolving national security needs.”
Currently, crews are nearing completion of the first building at Roy Innovation Center, in the north area by the Museum of Aerospace. The 231,000-square-foot Northrop Grumman facility will serve as future headquarters for the aerospace company's work supporting the DoD's Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program. Several additional buildings are in the planning stages, in what will eventually include five new buildings at Hill and more than a million square feet of office and lab facilities.
To accommodate the increased traffic in the area, the Roy and I-15 interchange at 5600 South will be widened, with a turn lane and acceleration lane added. A traffic light has also be added to the intersection to improve access to the museum and Northrop development.
The result of the increased payment in kind revenues will be new and up-to-date facilities to replace the 1200 series buildings. Current plans are for three 300,000-square-foot buildings to be constructed over the next 8-15 years just east of the 1200 series. The new buildings will eliminate inefficiencies currently found in the older 1200 series buildings. There will be office and administration space for 1,600-plus employees in each building.
The 1.1 million square feet of 1200 series buildings will be demolished, and new commercial building will be constructed at that location.
Additional EUL projects include Tru by Hilton Hotel, that has opened outside the West Gate, and the planning of a new interchange and base entry point at 1800 South, estimated to be completed in 2024.
“We are making tremendous progress,” Christensen said. “The recession set us back some, but we are making great strides forward. By all counts, the Enhanced Use Lease program has been a major success.”