Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Landsat Reveals Slow Economic Development Process

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Landsat Reveals Slow Economic Development Process

Article excerpt

One of the constants throughout the process was the Geosat Committee Inc., a Norman-based, non-profit organization "dedicated to the civilian use of satellite remote sensing technology for geological applications." In other words, the energy industry was involved. Big companies including Texaco, British Petroleum, Amoco, Arco, Mobil, Unocal and Shell.

Another constant was one of the dignitaries who attended that groundbreaking in 1983, a young congressman from Norman, U.S. Rep. Dave McCurdy, D-Okla.

McCurdy kept getting re-elected and kept gaining influence in Congress, and here comes EOSAT to central Oklahoma.

Coincidence? Luck?

Kreidler quotes golf great Gary Player: "Luck is the residue of diligence." Which brings us to the actual site of EOSAT's new ground station, that 3,000-square-foot building in a seeming "nowhereville" between Norman and Newcastle.

Kreidler had started the site quest in August 1990 in a search for raw land for construction of the ground station. Over the next several months, more than 100 locations were considered. None was quite right. The clock was ticking toward the scheduled launch of Landsat VI in July 1992, and he was instructed to find an existing building where EOSAT could set up shop.

One requirement unique to a computer-intensive satellite station is that there can be no electro-magnetic interference. Tests showed none of the available existing buildings would work.

After beating the odds for so long, would the real estate deal stand between Norman and EOSAT?

In a renewed search for raw land, Kreidler ventured further west on State Hwy. 9 than he had been before. And there it was, on the south side of the road.

"It was perfect. Just like a slam dunk," Kreidler said. "I couldn't believe there was a well-built, beautifully maintained brick building, close enough to Norman yet far enough away, close to the interstate, on a little hill so they could download information for a longer period each day. Just wild." Of course, it wasn't listed for sale. But Hunt Oil Co. of Dallas _ which had constructed the building about the same time ground was being broken for the station on Norman's old north base in 1983 _ had vacated the building in 1990.

It was for lease, but Kreidler put together the most important sale of his young real estate career.

Purchase price for the building and the 71 acres it sits on was not disclosed. The ground station is being called a $10 million project, and property acquisition costs are just a part of that.

About 1,000 square feet will be added to the building for a computer room, and a slab will be poured for installation of the 10-meter satellite dish.

EOSAT hopes to test its new station with Landsat IV and V before Landsat VI goes up a year from now.

Kreidler _ and a lot of other people _ hope EOSAT will stand out as an example of a community's commitment to attract the kind of business and industry that will lead Oklahoma into the future. …

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