As part of that effort, the unidentified Denver-based company plans to open research-and-development offices in the heart of downtown Titusville, while also renovating space above its offices for residential use.
Details of the project emerged at the North Brevard Economic Development Zone board meeting, as the company received unanimous approval for a redevelopment grant of up to $300,000 from the zone. The money will help in the company's planned $3.96 million capital investment on two connected buildings along the 300 block of South Washington Street (U.S. 1).
In its application, the company said it currently has 65 employees nationwide and that its Titusville expansion would add at least 10 employees during the coming year. The new employees would have an average salary of $55,000, plus benefits worth an average of $25,000 a year
"We will be looking to create an R&D office space to develop new technologies for the aerospace industry," the company said. "Not only will the space serve our expansion of work at Kennedy Space Center, but it also will provide a closer home base facility for our work at Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington, D.C., and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama."
Storefronts in one of the buildings along that block currently include an Italian restaurant, a chocolate and gift shop, and a hair salon, with two floors of vacant space above them — space that could be converted to apartments. An adjacent two-story former bank building at the corner now is occupied by a real estate office.
The company behind Project Grand said it also had been considering locations in Denver and Washington for its expansion project.
But, with the incentives approved, the company is focusing on the Titusville site.
"Working hand-in-hand with the city of Titusville, we would like to create a community where we can continue to help high-tech entrepreneurs create innovative solutions for the aerospace industry," the company said in its application for incentives.
The company said it plans to spend $1 million on building and land acquisition; $2.9 million on construction and renovations; and $55,000 on equipment over a three-year period at the 5,000-square-foot complex, which would become its East Coast regional office.
The company said it is "looking for a space where we can grow with the community, and help establish the cultural and professional vibe."
The company, which currently has five Brevard County employees, projected adding 10 jobs by mid-2018; five more jobs by mid-2019; and five more jobs by mid-2020.
The initial 10 new jobs would lead to 15 spinoff jobs at other companies, according to an economic impact analysis prepared by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast.
Troy Post, executive director of North Brevard Economic Development Zone, said the housing component is unusual for a high-tech economic development project of this type. But he said it is related to the company's designation as a U.S. Small Business Administration Historically Underutilized Business Zone certified small business.
Companies can gain advantages in seeking federal contracts if they are located in a HUB Zone and if at least 35 percent of their employees live in those zones.
The idea of Project Grand developing apartments above its planned downtown Titusville offices is to give its employees the option of living downtown — in the HUB Zone.
In its application, the company said it wants "to help Titusville continue to revitalize is downtown with high-tech businesses, trendy residential units, residents (feet/bikes on the street), revitalization of historic buildings. We are confident we can be a successful partner in this rebuilding time."
"It would be very transformational for downtown" Titusville, Roslin told members of North Brevard Economic Development Zone board at their meeting Friday.
The incentives from North Brevard Economic Development Zone include "clawback" provisions negating the grant if the company does not fulfill its promises related to redeveloping the property.
The company said the local incentives "are critical to our decision to establish our watershed in Brevard County and material to the affordability of this project and our budget."
Money for the grant comes from property taxes created by new commercial and industrial construction in North Brevard.