Editor’s note: This feature is part of a Hill Air Force Base 80th anniversary series. These articles feature the base’s historical innovations and achievements, and highlight mission platforms that have been operated and supported throughout the decades.
HILL AIR FORCE BASE — As Hill AFB operations continued to expand in the 2000s, it became clear to installation leaders that an innovative solution was needed for infrastructure that could sustain mission growth. In the mid-2000s, a plan began to take shape and in 2007 the state of Utah showed its support for Hill AFB’s continued growth when the legislature created the Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA, to manage state grants for infrastructure and highway improvements near federal installations.
The state of Utah did so in the hopes of energizing the local economy. As of a result, the Air Force, MIDA, and Sunset Ridge Development Partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which became the basis of Hill AFB’s Enhanced Use Lease, or EUL, program. On Aug. 13, 2008, the Air Force signed a Master Lease and Master Development Agreement between itself and Sunset Ridge Development Partners. This began the development of the Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park on Hill AFB.
Local dignitaries that included Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Rob Bishop, state Sen. Sheldon Killpack, local mayors and other community leaders joined Maj. Gen. Kathleen Close, Ogden Air Logistics Center commander, in a ground breaking ceremony on October 10, 2008. Shortly after this groundbreaking, however, challenging roadblocks emerged that took time to resolve.
Construction on the Falcon Hill complex began with the new decade. On Oct. 27, 2010, officials once again broke ground, this time specifically for the first fully-commercial building inside the gate. This five-story, 150,000-square-foot building became Northrop Grumman’s ICBM Prime Integration office upon its completion in January 2012. The year following the project’s re-start, in June 2011, construction began on a new West Gate facility further east than the existing one to accommodate development in that area. Construction also began that spring on a new facility for the 75th Security Force Squadron and Office of Special Investigations, or OSI, as part of the Falcon Hill project. Dislocated by the development construction, the Security Forces and OSI received a new facility as payment in kind, or PIK, through the EUL program.
On the same day as the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Security Forces and OSI facility, held on January 18, 2012, officials also conducted a ground breaking for the next building planned in the Falcon Hill project. Construction for the 75,000-square-foot facility, located adjacent to the first in the complex, began in late 2012 and was completed in December 2014. Development of the area just outside the new West Gate also began at that time, and the following year (2015) the Starbucks Coffee opened there.
On Dec. 2, 2016, officials once more gathered at Hill AFB to break ground for the third building in the Falcon Hill complex — another 75,000-sqaure-foot office space, like its predecessor. Also built as part of the EUL program in 2017 was the 21,000-square-foot USTAR Innovation Center, dedicated to manufacturing research and development and a focus on providing the tools and resources needed for start-up companies in maturing and commercializing their technology.
The 2010s brought innovative growth to Hill AFB through the EUL program. The west side of the installation experienced visible change over the decade. And, as the decade closed, construction was well underway in the northwest portion of Hill AFB on the Roy Innovation Center. This EUL-led construction project promises to bring as much change to the infrastructural landscape of the west side of the installation as the Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park did during the previous decade.