Florida’s Space Coast poised for explosive growth
By Megan Padilla;
Feature photo: Blue Origin at Exploration Park on Merritt Island.
Photo credit: NASA/Bill White
A race to headline the golden age of aerospace engineering
The world’s highest-stakes race is happening right now just 45-minutes east of Orlando on Cape Canaveral. SpaceX and Boeing are vying to be the first private company approved by NASA to transport its astronauts into space. Alongside them on Merritt Island is Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos. Its mission is to make space travel accessible. Across the street from Blue Origin’s massive hangar is OneWeb Satellites, whose aim is to provide global high-speed internet access. Interstruct has had a hand in their new facility.
Much like the tech industry is to Silicon Valley, so is the aerospace engineering industry to Florida’s Space Coast. The region covers 72 oceanfront miles of Brevard County from Cape Canaveral on Merritt Island, south to Sebastian Inlet.
In addition to the rapidly expanding industries that have emerged from space exploration, Florida’s Space Coast economy also includes cutting-edge communications, electronics, aerospace and aviation, homeland security and defense, emerging technologies, high-tech manufacturing and more. According to Brookings Institute study from 2013, the Space Coast boasts the largest share of science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs in Florida. And according to Enterprise Florida, most of the state’s 470 aerospace companies are based in Brevard County.
Photo Credit: OneWeb Satellites
Interstruct on the Space Coast
Among those is OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus. The company officially opened the world’s first high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility in Exploration Park, just outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center. OneWeb is manufacturing GEN1 satellites to be launched into low-Earth orbit to provide global broadband access. Interstruct has been tasked to design-build the interior of the 20,000 square-foot offices that are part of the 110,000 square-foot factory.
Interstruct onsite at OneWeb Satellites office build out, with DIRTT.
Photo Chad Baumer
For this job, Interstruct is working directly with DIRTT, a building-solutions company that creates cutting-edge modular walls for interior construction. Interstruct CEO Ryan Young explains how the system works: “We design the space and send the architectural drawings to DIRTT, which fabricates the wall panels offsite in Canada. They are then installed like furniture, with the electrical, data and plumbing roughed in, ready to be plugged into junction boxes which we’ve already installed in the ceiling.” It is a sleek, high-tech look and solution that marries well with OneWeb, says Young.
Urban development on the Space Coast
With industry comes people. So while the Space Coast corporate neighborhood is ground zero for explosive growth, including start-ups and mid-sized enterprises to high-tech goliaths across a variety of sectors, it is also becoming home to a highly skilled workforce. According to the Space Coast’s Economic Development Commission, that includes one of the nation’s largest concentrations of employment in the communications sector and the most concentrated manufacturing workforce in the state of Florida.
That means the many Brevard County towns and communities are on the verge of a renaissance — another opportunity for growth and development. Explore a bit to see that the bars and restaurants — a longtime service area for Interstruct — are filled with a little bit of everybody, including college students and young professionals.
Hell `n Blazes taproom is an example of the development in historic downtown Melbourne.
That kind of forward-looking urban development paired with design-build commissions for complex tech, medical and manufacturing projects is Interstruct’s sweet spot. The Orlando-based architecture and construction company is pleased to bring its 20 years of design-build excellence to be part of the incredible growth predicted on the Space Coast in the coming years.
Interstruct is a design-build firm focused on commercial construction and real estate development with offices in Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Founded by Ryan Young, AIA, and Richard Monroe in 2001 as a construction company primarily doing Class A tenant improvements, Interstruct recognized the need for leaner construction and a faster, more agile process to better serve our clients, and the industry. For nearly two decades we have refined our unique design-build methodology to offer clients a single contract encapsulating their project from concept through completion by our high-performing, in-house team of architects, general contractors, project managers, superintendents and real estate professionals. We are proud to have grown our business with repeat clients who value the ease of our design-build process as well as Interstruct’s commitment to providing unparalleled service by the executive leadership and the entire team.