Jan 12, 2024 - News

How Brook Park landed a $235 million astronaut training facility

Illustration of Cleveland's Guardians of Traffic statue wearing an astronaut suit.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

U.K.-based Blue Abyss looked like it was going to locate a $235 million training center in Houston back in 2022 — but then CEO John Vickers visited the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Brook Park to deliver a presentation.

What happened: Brook Park Mayor Ed Orcutt attended and listened to Vickers talk about the Blue Abyss facility's needs — proximity to both an airport and a NASA research center — and raised his hand to say he had available land that fit the bill.

  • "I said, 'We're both busy guys; let's go look at it now,'" Orcutt told Axios.
  • On March 17, 2023, Orcutt and Vickers signed an agreement on the 12.8-acre plot adjacent to Hopkins that they toured that day.

Driving the news: Just before the new year, the sale on the land was finalized.

  • Blue Abyss plans to break ground this summer.

Why it matters: With the NASA Glenn Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute within a half-mile, Brook Park is cementing itself as an international aerospace hub.

Catch up quick: The facility will house a training pool 17 times larger than an Olympic swimming pool, designed for astronauts, deep-sea divers and other military, industrial and academic research on extreme environments.

  • The site will also include a 150-room hotel.

Details: Orcutt said Brook Park will provide a 15-year property tax abatement to Blue Abyss and that the company is now assembling capital for the project, which will include both public and private dollars.

  • An application to the state for $25 million in funding has been submitted, Orcutt said.

What they're saying: "We're extremely happy that Blue Abyss is coming to Brook Park, Ohio, rather than Texas," Orcutt said.

  • "This is a world attraction for the region and an absolutely generational project for the city of Brook Park and the state of Ohio."
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