This article appeared in Business Facilities magazine as a part of the Charles County Economic Development Department's national advertising.
The small town of Indian Head, in Charles County, MD, is coming to life again thanks to a community-inspired revitalization. Once a bustling military town, Indian Head suffered a generation of economic decline after increased security around the local naval installation moved most base-related activity behind the gate and left the town without contractors and local businesses without customers.
In search of a solution, community leaders developed a collective vision of a catalyst project for revitalization: an innovation center in the town for public/private sector collaboration. Today, that center is a reality. A once-abandoned warehouse has been transformed into the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Velocity Center. The town is attracting the attention of companies and organizations that seek proximity to the naval base, use of facilities at the new CSM Velocity Center, and access to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. This area for tech is growing and space is available.
Opportunities With Naval Support Facility Indian Head (NSF IH)
Naval Support Facility Indian Head (NSF IH) is home to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD), the Navy’s principal agent for developing energetic materials and systems for the U.S. Navy’s fleet. The command is the Navy’s premier facility for ordnance, energetics, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). A major employer in Charles County, this naval base is within a 40-minute drive to Washington, DC, the Pentagon, and other key federal and military installations. The CSM Velocity Center (completed in 2020) provides off-base meeting and collaboration space for NSWC IHD and supports commercial activity in the town.
CSM Velocity Center: A Place for Innovation, Learning, and Collaboration
The Velocity Center, constructed in the first phase of Indian Head’s redevelopment, is a place for innovation. This 13,000-square-foot collaboration facility supports industry, higher education, and the federal government, providing space for instruction, technology transfer, and meetings. State-of-the-art conference facilities, classrooms, flexible workspace, and a maker’s space support collaboration, ideation, innovation, and workforce training. The Velocity Center’s maker space is ideal for exploring new technologies, equipped with hardware for computer-aided design and prototyping, 3D printers, and subtractive machines.
Velocity Park: A Technology Business Campus
The Velocity Center sits on a six-acre site that has been named Velocity Park. Plans for the campus include an office building, hotel and a small amount of supporting retail. Shovel-ready sites are available for development. The site was acquired by Mid-Atlantic Development Partners, who oversaw the Velocity Center renovation. Charles McPherson, CEO of Mid-Atlantic Development Partners, anticipates that Velocity Park will become a hub of innovation and commerce. “Proximity to NSF Indian Head is opening up many opportunities,” said McPherson. “The right mix of industry, retail, and hospitality will energize the area and encourage continued investment in the town.”
Maryland Tech Center: Home to Bomb Techs, Manufacturers, and Base Contractors
Even before it opened, the Velocity Center project caught the attention of the U.S. Bomb Technician Association (USBTA), a professional association of bomb disposal specialists, academics, innovators, and industry partners. Today, USBTA’s new headquarters is located in the Maryland Technology Center (MTC), the 30,000-square-foot facility—formerly a grocery store and drug store—soon to become home to USBTA, several of its member businesses, and other base contractors. These four member companies will share 10,000 square feet with USBTA:
- Mithix Pro: manufactures and develops tools and equipment for bomb technicians
- MED-ENG: manufactures bomb suits for bomb technicians as well as robotic platforms and other tools
- DETECTACHEM: manufactures explosive and drug detection equipment
- D.S.: supplies military and public safety gear and equipment
According to CMI General Contractors CEO Charles McPherson, approximately 17,000 square feet of office space is still available at the MTC. It’s an ideal location for companies and organizations seeking access to NSWC IHD, Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base Bowling, and the many military and federal installations in the Washington, DC area.
It’s clear, the Town of Indian Head is making a comeback. The technology businesses are attracting new retail and restaurants to the town, and shovel-ready sites for buildout of office, advanced manufacturing, retail, or hospitality uses are creating new opportunities for innovators and visionaries. Contact Chief of Development, Taylor Yewell, for more information.