Pima County and World View Enterprises on Thursday marked the completion of Spaceport Tucson and the headquarters and manufacturing plant the company will lease from the county.
The county entered into an economic development agreement with World View in January to keep the company in Tucson.
World View plans to use its space to manufacture its new, high-altitude balloon flight vehicles, known as Stratollites, and offer unmanned flights to the stratosphere for commerciial and research purposes.
The balloon vehicles can loiter over an area as a low-cost alternative to geostationary satellites for applications including communications, remote sensing, weather, and research.
Eventually, the company hopes to offer people the chance to ride to the edge of space for a fee.
The county completed construction of the building, south of Tucson International Airport at 1805 E. Aerospace Parkway, last week, and World View received a temporary occupancy permit on Dec. 21.
On Thursday, Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson, District 2 Supervisor Ramón Valadez and County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry presented a ceremonial key to World View founders and principals Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum to commemorate the completion of construction.
Bronson said the county completed the building and spaceport under the $15 million budget.
As part of an incentive agreement, World View also will manage and operate the adjacent county-owned Spaceport Tucson, a 700-foot diameter concrete launchpad the company and others will use to launch its high-altitude balloons.
A 2015 economic-impact study by a Phoenix firm found World View’s planned operation could have a $3.5 billion direct and indirect impact on the local economy over the next 20 years.
The county’s deal with World View is the subject of a pending lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute, which contends construction of the World View facilities are an unlawful use of taxpayer money.