(GRAND FORKS, N.D.) – Dec. 7, 2016 – Grand Sky, the first unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business and aviation park in the U.S., announced it has a signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Grand Forks, N.D.-based EdgeData LLC to establish a 16,000-square-foot data center facility at Grand Sky. Construction of the facility is tentatively planned to begin in spring 2017, pending the completion of necessary anchor tenant commitments, design and permitting approval processes. It is anticipated the facility will be fully operational within 12 months after beginning construction.
Thomas Swoyer, Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Company, said the LOI demonstrates the continued vertical integration of UAS at Grand Sky. “For the UAS industry, as well as a number of other industries, the real value of operations lies in the data produced through imagery and other technological applications. This much-needed data center will allow our tenants and companies from other industries to safely store data and more easily convert it into consumable information,” Swoyer said. “We’re happy to welcome EdgeData to Grand Sky and are appreciative of the continued support the State of North Dakota has shown in helping to advance the incredibly exciting and promising UAS industry.”
The world-class data center facility represents a capital investment of approximately $10 million. When complete, the facility will house an initial 72 cabinets of IT equipment in 6,000-square-feet of hardened and conditioned data center space, with space available for future growth. The location of the data center at Grand Sky represents a unique focus toward the UAS sector, specifically big data analytics, however the facility will be capable of satisfying data storage demands from tenants of all sizes across various industries. Features of the center will include redundant power, multiple fiber optic network connections and multiple layers of security.
“With continued support and commitment, this project will be a reality,” said Lonnie Bloomquist, CEO of EdgeData LLC. “EdgeData will immediately become the North Dakota-based industry leader in big data applications, and is pleased for the opportunity to develop the world’s first UAS-focused data center on Grand Forks Air Force Base as part of Grand Sky.”
The data center facility and its tenants will benefit from incentives provided by the state of North Dakota through legislation that allows for tax exempt equipment purchases through 2020. EdgeData executives and Grand Sky officials said the tax incentive was critical in EdgeData’s decision to establish a data center in the state.
State Rep. Mark Owens (R-Dist. 17) was one of several legislators to sponsor the bill which provides incentives for data centers and said the legislation was designed to diversify the state’s economy through information technology advancements and to enhance the infrastructure necessary to support the state’s small businesses. “These data centers will bring high-tech jobs with matching salaries and support the growth of other small boutique businesses by providing the necessary IT support to grow these businesses,” he said. “Continuing to diversify the state’s economy is the only true way to grow jobs, expand paychecks and stimulate the state coffers without tax increases.”
North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson applauded EdgeData and Grand Sky for supporting the state’s focus on maintaining a leadership role within the UAS industry. “EdgeData’s investment in North Dakota is an important step in our ongoing efforts to grow North Dakota’s UAS industry and to become a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development,” he said. “They will be a great team member at Grand Sky.”
The announcement of EdgeData’s LOI comes at the end of another year of exciting growth for Grand Sky, including the start of large-UAS flights at the park and continued infrastructure development. Tenant agreements are anticipated throughout 2017 as the park, along with continued support from the state, continues to grow its reputation as being the premier commercial UAS development in the U.S.
“The phenomenal growth of Grand Sky in 2016 underscores the importance of our early investment in infrastructure,” said State Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Dist. 17). “The legislature must continue to assist this new and expanding industry to soar and further diversify our economy.”
About Grand Sky
Grand Sky is a 217-acre business and aviation park focused on supporting the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry in North Dakota and the U.S. It is a development executed in partnership with Grand Forks County, N.D., and is located on Grand Forks Air Force Base. Grand Sky offers 1.2 million square feet of hangar, office, shop, laboratory and data center space available on a build-to-suit basis with financing available. For more information, visit grandskynd.com.
About EdgeData LLC
EdgeData equips enterprises to systematically capture, compute and consume data intelligence to grow profits and market share, protect cash flow and make data-driven decisions. EdgeData serves the wind energy market with BladeEdgeSM, an application that provides for management of efficiency, return on investment decisions for repairs and upgrades and the information necessary to improve performance and extend blade life. For more information, visit edgedata.net.