Millions of dollars for a major construction project at Offutt Air Force Base are included in a defense authorization bill that's been sent to President Obama for his signature.
The $662 billion defense measure, approved by the Senate on Thursday, includes money for U.S. Strategic Command's new headquarters facility at Offutt, which sits next to Bellevue. The current StratCom building was constructed in 1957.
Sen. Ben Nelson says the new facility is needed so StratCom can carry out its nuclear, space and cyberspace missions.
Construction could begin next year. It will take hundreds of construction workers and four years to complete and for the growing city of Bellevue that means a quick economic boost.
“We'll see an uptake in construction, the service industry building a $1.6 billion building,” said Megan Lucas with the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. “Over a million square feet will take a lot of contractors, construction and highly skilled workforce and labors.”
The new StratCom building also means a lot of jobs will stay in the area and Air Force personnel will continue to make their home here. That's good news for businesses, especially small businesses.
Eric Ging, owner of the Swine Dining barbecue restaurant, has been in business for about a year and says he depends heavily on the Air Force base for business.
“I say the bigger chains are probably 30 percent of their business, but the smaller areas like myself on lunch is probably 80 percent of my business, especially during lunch when the base is closed or the holidays, you can see the decline in business on those particular days.”