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GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grand Sky Development Company, LLC (Grand Sky) has entered into lease agreements with four tenants to occupy the entirety of the new Multi-Tenant Building 1 (MT1) at the business and aviation park. The tenants include General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Northern Plains UAS Test Site, Grand Sky Airfield Operations, LLC and Innovets Aerospace.
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site has signed a 10-year lease in the MT1 building at Grand Sky and has plans to use the space as the headquarters and operations center for Vantis, the statewide Beyond Visual Line of Site Network (BVLOS). Northern Plains UAS Test Site and Grand Sky have collaborated numerous times on multiple projects in support of medium and large UAS operations. These projects include supporting a commercial beyond-line-of sight-flight of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator UAS, as well as the company’s first trans-Atlantic flight with a MQ-9 Reaper UAS. More recently, Northern Plains UAS Test Site and Grand Sky collaborated to support test and demonstration flights including extended BVLOS flights of Northrop Grumman’s Firebird optionally manned aircraft. Northern Plains UAS Test Site will occupy 25% of the nearly 18,000 square foot building.
“All of these flight operations were made possible through the tremendous partnership between the Northern Plains Test Site and Grand Sky,” Grand Sky Development Co. President Thomas Swoyer Jr., 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 that allows the Grand Sky tenants and partners to utilize the Grand Forks AFB runway and flight facilities. According to Swoyer, the ability to conduct civilian flight operations from the Air Force Base runway is a crucial part of the value of Grand Sky.
Innovets Aerospace has been a partner at Grand Sky from the very first day of flight operations. The team from Innovets manages the ground operations at Grand Sky and continues to support tenant and partners with their operations.
“The fact that the building is fully leased is a testament to the high demand from UAS companies to be North Dakota and in particular at Grand Sky,” Swoyer said. “We appreciate the commitment to long-term leases.”
The MT1 building was conceived several years ago 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 under long-term leases. Plans are already underway for a new building, Multi-Tenant Building 2, to capture the demand for space that companies have.
“As Grand Sky looks to the future of UAS, we’re preparing to develop capabilities around UAS-based cargo and package delivery, as well as processing the vast amount of information that the UAS industry is creating on a daily basis,” said Swoyer. “Getting a deliverable to a customer, whether it’s a physical package or data package is the crux of the UAS industry. Having Vantis at Grand Sky will give our tenants and partners a true advantage as the UAS industry in North Dakota continues to grow.”
Contact: Jill Byrd, Grand Sky
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