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Second Phase of Tech Village Underway at County Airport

Christopher South
Linda Cruz-Carnell of the federal Economic Development Administration speaking at the groundbreaking for Phase II of the Tech Village development at the county airport. In the background are the hangar-like structures of Phase I that house tech businesses.

By Christopher South

ERMA – County, municipal and federal officials helped break ground April 23 for the second phase of the Tech Village project at Cape May County Airport, made possible by a nearly $3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The EDA grant will cover nearly half the cost of the $6.5 million project, which will include construction of 160,000-plus square feet of facilities meant to house tech-related businesses.

Board of County Commissioners Director Leonard Desiderio emphasized the benefit the collaborative effort will have on the job market in Cape May County.

“Together we will create new jobs. I’ll say that again, we are creating new jobs. This is about jobs, jobs, jobs,” Desiderio said, adding that the development of Tech Village is a sign of the county’s commitment to creating dozens of jobs in the tech industry.

Linda Cruz-Carnell spoke on behalf of the EDA, saying, “We understand the importance regular job-creating has in the community. We are creating good jobs for the future. We love partnering on the ground with the communities we serve.”

Commissioner Will Morey, who has been a leading proponent of revitalizing the airport as a technology industry zone and economic engine for the county, said, “At the end of the day, the county is trying to bring about change at the Cape May County Airport. We’ve imagined what this could be. A tech center.”

A sign near Tech Village Phase II has information about the development. Photo Credit: Christopher South

Ron Simone, the county’s assistant administrator, said Cape May is currently recruiting tenants for the two-story, 160,434-square-foot facility to be known as Tech Village Phase II. A sign outside the site says the project was to have been completed in 2023; county Administrator Kevin Lare said the delay was caused due to the EDA’s needing more than seven months to issue concurrence on acceptance of the bid.

Ground was broken for Tech Village Phase I on May 15, 2019. The first phase, which included three hangar-style buildings, was a $6.2 million, 20,000-square-foot complex. The stated purpose of the development was to grow year-round jobs in Cape May County – a theme that was restated at the Phase II groundbreaking.

Before Phase I construction began in 2019, there were already two companies interested in becoming tenants – Cellular Tracking Technology and D-Tech International USA. CTT creates tracking devices that can be attached to wildlife to monitor their movements using GPS technology. D-Tech develops self-service products, such as digital information kiosks.

Lare said Phase II will complete Tech Village. There are other projects going on at the airport, such as the $7.4 million terminal building project located at the end of Hornet Road, that is mainly funded by the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

Lare said Tech Village Phase II should be completed in 18 to 24 months, depending on the weather and supply chain. “Site work has begun,” he said.

County Commissioner Robert Barr also spoke at the groundbreaking and mentioned the development of tech businesses such as drone technology.

Drones were a hot topic in Cape May a decade ago, including discussion of using the county airport as a testing site. Not much has been heard recently regarding drones.

Lower Township Mayor Frank Sippel said at last count there were 30 businesses inside the airport complex, which is located in the township. He invited guests to drive around the airport and see what has been done. Some of the better-known businesses include the Cape May Brewing Co., the Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum and the Flight Deck Diner.

Contact the reporter, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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