The Grand Sky Development Company has signed four tenants to long-term leases at its commercial drone-focused business park, located at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The tenants will occupy the entirety of the recently completed 18,000-square-foot Multi-Tenant Building 1, called MT1. The tenants include General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., which is already located at Grand Sky, but will expand into the new building, Grand Sky Airfield Operations, LLC and Innovets Aerospace.
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site also will relocate to the building to occupy about a quarter of the space, and has signed a 10-year lease. NPUASTS will use the space as the headquarters and operations center for Vantis, the statewide Beyond Visual Line of Site network, which came online in two western counties in November.
“The fact that the building is fully leased is a testament to the high demand from UAS companies to be in North Dakota and in particular at Grand Sky,” Grand Sky Development Co. President Thomas Swoyer Jr. said in a news release. “We appreciate the commitment to long-term leases.”
The MT1 building was built to support smaller organizations that want to be at Grand Sky, but don’t want to invest the funds necessary to build their own buildings. Plans are underway for a new building, Multi-Tenant Building 2, to accommodate the demand companies have for space at the installation. The planned building will be as large as the first, as Grand Sky officials believe there is demand for space from companies wishing to use the Vantis network, or work with drones that have vertical take off and landing capabilities.
NPUASTS has a long history of collaborating with Grand Sky on projects that support medium and large UAS operations. These projects include supporting a commercial BVLOS flight of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone, as well as the company’s first trans-Atlantic flight with an MQ-9 Reaper. Recently, NPUASTS worked with Grand Sky to support test and demonstration flights, including extended BVLOS flights of Northrop Grumman’s Firebird, an optionally-manned aircraft.
“All of these flight operations were made possible through the tremendous partnership between the Northern Plains Test Site and Grand Sky,” Swoyer said. “The addition of Vantis to Grand Sky will enhance the capabilities of firms that want to operate UAS from Grand Sky or from anywhere in the state of North Dakota.”
General Atomics will use the expansion to grow its operations at Grand Sky to support more customers. Grand Sky Airfield Operations manages the Joint Use Agreement between the Air Force and Grand Forks County, which allows the Grand Sky tenants and partners to utilize the runway at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
Innovets Aerospace has been a partner at Grand Sky from the first day of flight operations there. The company manages the ground operations at the 217-acre business and aviation park.