Spaceport Camden Tries Something New
After five years and more than $8 million, Camden’s Commissioners have resorted to hiring a five-day-old company formed by two Atlanta real estate brokers to promote the spaceport property. The company does not appear to be providing any money towards Camden County spaceport development. Camden will enter an agreement allowing startup Organic Code Development to search for any tenant from any industry who can make use of the Union Carbide property.
It’s essential to note that the company has never put together a public/private partnership involving a spaceport.
In his April 28, 2020 press release announcing Organic Code Development, LLC. Jimmy Starline states, “From the very beginning we promised Spaceport Camden would be a public-private partnership. Today we are announcing that Camden County intends to make good on that promise.”
In his September 17, 2018 press release announcing ABL Space’s lease with the Camden Joint development Authority, Jimmy Starline said, “We are making good on our promise that Spaceport Camden will be a public-private partnership.”
ABL Space, Camden’s only space company lease signee, never occupied the church gym they had leased at the St. Marys Industrial Park before canceling their contract.
We've attached Camden's Press Release in case you missed it. It says that Camden will sign a Memorandum of Understanding, allowing a “public/private partnership between Organic Code Development, LLC, and Camden County” to promote the contaminated Union Carbide property. There is no mention of Organic Code providing even one dollar of investment or tax relief to Camden property owners. Unless Organic Code is investing real dollars in the spaceport/technology center, the so-called “public-private partnership” amounts to nothing more than real estate guys trying to put something together on another piece of property.
Kennedy Space Center and Wallops Virginia spaceport already have east coast launch pads and adjacent high-tech business parks promoting what Organic Code says they can deliver. They promise an “interdisciplinary technology center will offer collaborative research opportunities in artificial intelligence, aerospace, defense, engineering, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, software development, information technology robotics, and cyber security [sic]” along with “fiber and power network.” That already exists nearby in Brunswick and Jacksonville. Without the accompanying Union Carbide contamination.
Camden has been unsuccessful in landing a space operator despite Steve Howard and Jimmy Starline claiming that space industry companies have knocked at their doors, met in their offices, and called their phones since they announced their fantasy. So has it come down to the only thing missing has been professional real estate salesmen from Atlanta, or is it real space companies that want to come to Spaceport Camden?
Organic Code will have to overcome the same reasons why Union Carbide never sold the property or cleaned-up the contamination. Spaceport Camden’s Environmental Impact Statement has never been completed. The property is still under an EPD Environmental Covenant restricting significant development. Only companies that need a site where they can perform dangerous, risky, or nuisance type businesses would seek to locate at the end of Union carbide Road.
After five years of failure, delay after delay, and $8 million wasted, Starline, Blount, and Howard had to come up with something to save face. Keep in mind that the Commissioners are planning the 2021 budget and need some way to explain to taxpayers they need even more money to pay PR guys and their stable of unsuccessful spaceport “experts.”
We have to hand it Camden's PR guy Bob Hope; he has a way with words for $96,000 a year.