Business Education Escambia County Pensacola

Read about proposed Northwest Center for Dynamic Ocean Technologies at Port

November 13, 2017

Last week, we wrote about the need for a plan for the future of the Port of Pensacola.

Triumph Gulf Coast uploaded the pre-screening form for the Northwest Center for Dynamic Ocean Technologies (CDOT) proposed for Port of Pensacola Warehouse 4.

The $23-million project will be a public-private partnership. The City of Pensacola will provide the land and warehouse, valued at $2 million. Escambia County and Institute for Human Machine Cognition will donate in-kind services worth $200,000 and $494,000 respectively.

The remaining $20.32 million includes:

Triumph Gulf Coast; $15,000,000
Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program and Escambia Co.: $2,000,000
Cobalt Intelligence LLC: $2,473,000
Naval Surface Warfare Center (Donation of six unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles): $ 600,000
Pensacola Bay Oyster Company (Equipment, boats, aquaculture): $ 245,000

According to the form, Cobalt Intelligence LLC is a private investment group that has committed $2,000,000 to commercialize ocean technologies developed from the Center into spin off business entities in Northwest Florida, as well as an additional $248,000 in an initial artificial reef project, and $225,000 for a Director of Commercialization. Its address is the home of Benjamin Etscheid, founding partner of Brook Hollow Financial.

The Pensacola Bay Oyster Company has committed aquaculture, boats and equipment resources. Its owned by Donnie McMahon of McMahon Hadder.

The CDOT will target Advanced Industries and R&D in the areas of Robotics Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Human-Machine Interfaces. These R&D efforts are key skill sets that support other critical industries such as Aerospace & Defense, Cyber security, and IT and are the future of the water transportation industry.

Initial job creation of 25 high wage jobs through the Center will focus on research, education and technology with salaries ranging from $60,000 to $150,000. It is anticipated that this initial investment will have a multiplier effect on direct and indirect future job growth. Initial educational opportunities include high school career academies focused on marine technology, aerospace engineering, computer programming, advanced manufacturing, and will lead to internships, state college apprenticeship, certificate programs, and traditional university undergraduate and graduate degree production. In additional to world class R&D, an essential component of the Center will be talent development.

The long-term Center objective is to create a local ladder for careers and job placement in ocean technology, including ocean engineering, programming, advanced manufacturing, undersea robotics, autonomous water vehicles, sensors,aquaculture, and marine biology. As the Center progresses and intellectual property is created, patented and commercialized, the Center will also generate local job opportunities in commercial business, supply chain logistics and sales and marketing to aid in the diversification of regional employment opportunities.

The Center will be continued after the initial two years of funding with research grants and collaborations from various federal agencies. IHMC will provide accounting, audit, reporting, and project management support for the Center.

The anticipated Commencement is December 2017. The City of Pensacola has committed to removing Warehouse 4 from the secured area of the Port making the building accessible to workers, student interns and the public without the necessity of a security clearance.

The Warehouse is immediately available for the abatement and upgrades estimated at $7.5 million. The boat dock facility had previously received an Environmental Resource Permit. That permit expired when the facility was not constructed and will be reapplied.

In six months from project start the warehouse will be the home of a collaborative center for ocean technologies at the Port of Pensacola bringing together academia, industry, military, and commercial investors to foster innovation and entrepreneurship around the coastal environment.

Read submittal.

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  • EPenn November 14, 2017 at 8:18 am

    But, but… if they build that at the port where will they put the fish hatchery? lol… This is great until Studer comes out against it to build more condos…

    • Rick Outzen November 14, 2017 at 9:32 am

      The NCDOT will be in Warehouse #4. No impact on fish hatchery.

    • Rick Outzen November 14, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Also Studers have never built a condo.

      • EPenn November 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

        Southtowne Development opens its doors next month = not a Studer condo… yet?

        • Rick Outzen November 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

          No, apartments

  • CJ Lewis November 13, 2017 at 10:42 am

    In September 2016, the City Council voted to set aside money in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget to conduct a port study looking at alternative uses of the port. When I spoke with the sponsor of that initiative Councilwoman Sherri Myers last month, she said she did not know that status of the study. Port Director Amy Miller had refused to conduct an earlier study telling the City Council in 2016 that she wanted to wait until there was good news to tell. Perhaps someone on the City Council could find out if the new study was ever done or is this another case where the Hayward Administration ignores the City Council that seems to enjoy being politically impotent.