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How this Titusville real estate firm will capitalize on the private aerospace boom

Orlando Biz Journal – As the commercial specialists for Rocket City Commercial, a real estate firm based in Titusville, the pair often travel to retail or real estate conferences and pitch the city as a destination for national retail and restaurant brands, as well as development.

In the not-too-distant past, they recall often being met with resistance and reluctance.

Now, though, as the booming private aerospace industry has driven an influx of high-wage earners into the region, there’s been a sea change.

“Now our phone is ringing and people are saying ‘Tell me about Titusville,’” said Earnhardt. “People finally are catching on.”

The Titusville residents started their firm in 2019 and partnered with eXp Commercial LLC in 2021. Earnhardt brought with her a background in development and construction, including an eight-year stint with Unicorp, and Carver previously had roles as an executive for a nonprofit and a legislative aide for a county commissioner, among other jobs.

During the three years the firm has been in business, the Space Coast has seen a wave of momentum embodied by frequent launches — 31 in 2021, tying a record — and record tourism development tax collections, according to Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism.

The economic energy is rooted in booming private investment in the space industry and related enterprises, the byproduct of which has been an influx of jobs scattered throughout the region that, on average, earn $88,200 annually, according to a 2019 NASA study.

“It’s not just selling the future — it’s here,” Carver said. “The high-wage earners moving in are creating the need for more neighborhood services, housing and medical uses.”

Amid that economic energy and the same in-migration patterns driving growth throughout Florida, communities like Titusville are jockeying for the new residents and the real estate opportunities that come with them.

For Rocket City Commercial, what that looks like is 65 deals closed between Carver and Earnhardt in 2021.

The team, which has its two commercial specialists along with two support staffers and a network of affiliates they regularly collaborate with, also has placed a particular emphasis on redevelopment of blighted and vacant properties.

For instance, Rocket City was part of the deal that brought GenH2, a company that makes infrastructure for liquid hydrogen systems, to town. The new campus for the firm at 5120 S. Washington Ave. is its global headquarters and will include at least 250 employees, but previously was vacant dating back to 2014.

This article first appeared on BizJournals.com

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