Falcon Hill's lead-off hitter provides exciting start for project's bold future

Sen. Rob Bishop (left), R-Utah, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Vickie McCall, Air Force Association member and Hill honorary commander, pause for a moment after attending the ribbon cutting for the Northrop Grumman Building at Hill Air Force Base on March 12. The new building sets the tone for Falcon Hill enhanced use lease program at the base with its enthusiastic reception by community and base leaders.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert tours the new ICBM Northrop Grumman Building at Hill Air Force
Base after the ribbon cutting.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, Herbert and Sen. Orrin Hatch view a display during the tour.
By Bryon Saxton
Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau
March 15, 2012

The ribbon cutting for the five-story Falcon Hill ICBM building further "cements" the viability of Hill Air Force Base and its future in remaining the state's largest single-site employer, officials said.

Dignitaries, along with a crowd of about 150 people, gathered March 12 to officially open the 151,783-square-foot building constructed for the ICBM defense contractor team led by Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman will move nearly 650 people into the building in April, said Rich Essary, Hill AFB spokesman.

The building is part of a multiphase 550-acre public/private venture development that could generate, upon its completion, as many as 60,000 jobs for the Top of Utah, officials said.

Some of those who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

"We are facing times in the military that are somewhat frightening," Bishop said in reference to any future cuts in military spending.

"It is projects like Falcon Hill that will allow us to weather the storm," he said of the project, which allows private companies to work with the U.S. Air Force in the development of underused federal lands.

"With every brick and every inch of cement," Hatch said, "Hill will grow stronger, more vibrant and be an even greater center of vital importance to our national security.

"Under the final incarnation of the plan, private developers, which include Utah's Woodbury Corporation, are financing, building and managing at Hill 8 million square feet of space on base land, which is currently underutilized," Hatch said at the ceremony held in the basement auditorium of the new building.

"If this is the basement, I can't wait to see the rest of the building," Herbert quipped, crediting an "unprecedented partnership" for bringing the project together.

"It's unique. There is no boilerplate. This is all new stuff," said Jeff Woodbury, vice president, legal and development, of the Woodbury Corporation.

Woodbury said many partners are involved in the project, but the reality of the whole process is about the people within the state who love it and, as a result, have worked for nearly 10 years in bringing the development to this point.

So what's next for Falcon Hill?

R&O Construction officials say ground has already been broken for a three-story structure to be built just northeast of the new ICBM building.

That commercial building is to house the private contractors in the aerospace field who work with the base, said David Williamsen, chief of the Enhanced Use Lease office.

"The vision is to build Northern Utah," Williamsen said of the next construction phase expected to begin this spring.

Layton Mayor Steve Curtis said the beautiful new building will serve as a landmark, signifying to passersby on the freeway the county's growing economy.

"I'm excited personally for what it brings to Northern Utah, specifically for what it brings Davis County."