by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) — Texas Sterling-Banicki JV LLC this week was awarded a design-build contract valued at more than $18.8 million by the Houston City Council to bring infrastructure to the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport.
Tuesday’s council vote is the culmination of a selection process that began with a June 2017 solicitation by Request for Qualifications. Four firms were short-listed. The other firms considered were Griffin Partners Inc., Burns and McDonnell, and Boyer Inc., according to city records.
In a prepared statement after the vote, Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said, “Phase 1 is an important first step toward our final vision for the Houston Spaceport. With more than 600 acres of land available for lease at the location, the Houston Spaceport is primed for development, and with vital infrastructure in place, momentum for this exciting project continues to build–much like our future partners will with these key assets already in place.”
Needed infrastructure to be addressed includes interior streets, storm water drainage, water and wastewater lines, power and communications duct banks, and gas service lines. The Spaceport Infrastructure Design-Build project will take place in two phases–Pre-construction Phase and Design Services and Construction Phase Services.
- $13,157,028 / Pre-construction & Design, and Construction
- $ 4,060,000 / Cash allowances
- $ 1,332,874 / Contingency
- $ 276,112 / Material testing/Owner controlled contingency
- $18,826,014 / Total appropriation
Master plan for the first 90 acres (Phase 1) of the Houston Spaceport. Courtesy: Houston Airport System.
Sterling Construction Company Inc., a heavy civil construction company based in The Woodlands, acquired J. Banicki Construction in 2011. Known today as Banicki Construction, the subsidiary recruited into this joint venture is based in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Texas Sterling-Banicki joint venture includes DBE commitments. The participating DBE firms and their roles are as follows:
- GMJ Paving (asphalt, paving and concrete)
- Emerald Standard (electrical installation)
- HT&J (drainage and storm water design)
- Ferguson Consulting (electrical and telecommunications design/coordination)
- H&E Aggregate (aggregate 60 percent credit)
- KMA Contractor’s Services (reinforced concrete pipe 60 percent credit)
- Aviles Engineering Corp. (lab testing of concrete, soil, asphalt and geotechnical services)
Concept rendering of the gateway entrance to the future Houston Spaceport. Courtesy: HAS.
A 90-acre site at Ellington has been set aside to develop Phase 1 of the Houston Spaceport master plan, which is part of the Houston Airport System (HAS). The objective of Phase 1 development is to provide a home for a spectrum of aerospace related industries and disciplines in order to accelerate key engineering activities:
- Component and composite development and fabrication
- Space vehicle assembly
- Zero-gravity scientific and medical experiments
- Microsatellite deployment
- Astronaut training and development
- Space tourism
HAS recently completed construction of a 53,000-square-foot laboratory and office building that includes incubation space for early-stage companies, permanent office space for developing companies and larger facilities for companies ready for mass production.
Houston Spaceport is the tenth spaceport in the United States to be licensed as such by the Federal Aviation Administration. It is expected to benefit from its proximity to the NASA Johnson Space Center. The HAS and NASA entered an umbrella agreement to collaborate in a number of areas intended to help the port grow a commercial space flight industry.