Shovels hit the dirt Thursday for the second building at the National Aerospace Research & Technology Park. The NARTP is located on a 58-acre campus adjacent to the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center and the Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township.
“The construction of the second building at the NARTP proves that we are on the verge of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to broaden and diversify the southern New Jersey economy and establish Atlantic County as a national leader in the research and development of emerging fields in aeronautics,” NARTP CEO and President Howard Kyle said.
“We’re not just building a building,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said, “we’re building an industry and our future.”
Upon full buildout, the park will consist of seven buildings with 400,000 square feet of Class A research & development space.
The NARTP, FAA and Atlantic City International Airport comprise an Aviation Innovation Hub located within New Jersey’s only officially designated Aviation District. The airport is also recognized as a smart test bed facility.
According to Kyle, current tenants of the park’s first building, completed in 2019, are already conducting leading-edge research into novel uses of unmanned aircraft systems and their integration into the National Airspace System and the field of advanced air mobility that employs electric-powered aircraft that take-off and land vertically.
A UAS demonstration was provided at the event by General Dynamics Information Technology, a tenant in the park’s first building.
“New companies are working along with the FAA and NASA, two additional NARTP occupants, to deliver these innovative capabilities to market their use in emergency services, rural-urban transit, air taxi systems, package delivery and remote sensing,” Kyle added. “With these budding and promising technologies being advanced in Atlantic County, the related economic development benefits could truly help transform our region.”
According to FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center Director Shelley Yak, the further development of the NARTP coincides with what she called the “third revolution” of the aviation industry.
“The first revolution began with flight and the Wright Brothers in 1903, the second occurred during World War II with the invention of the jet engine,” Yak said. “Today’s revolution is preparing for a future like we saw on ‘The Jetsons,’ with flying taxis that will take our visitors from casino to casino and with unmanned aircraft systems delivering packages to your doorstep. These are examples of the substantial research within the field of aviation that are open to the research park’s involvement.”
The Atlantic County Economic Alliance has been working closely with NARTP officials to act as an economic development concierge to companies interested in locating or expanding into the NARTP. The ACEA is available to help companies identify and access all government assistance and tax/financial incentive programs as well as financing opportunities.
“As we reach out to aviation innovation companies, we are finding that the ecosystem of collaborative partnerships being established at the NARTP is resonating very strongly,” Lauren Moore, president of the ACEA, said. “This research park offers more than just high-speed connectivity to the FAA Tech Center next door. We’re talking about hands-on, very real collaboration with the FAA, and there are a lot of firms and organizations that find that highly attractive.”
One local business owner, Leo Schoffer, president of Schoffer Enterprises, announced that his company is developing plans for a new hotel with meeting space and other amenities on Delilah Road, convenient to the Aviation Hub, to accommodate visitors and those doing business with NARTP.
The Atlantic County Improvement Authority will oversee construction of the new building and will own and manage the building upon completion.