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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

LIFT signs lease for facilities in Caguas

Under a five-year lease, LIFT will convene leading technology partners to conduct development activities in advanced materials and manufacturing processes, along with workforce training, on the top floor of Lincoln Plaza in Caguas.

By The Star Staff

LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, has signed a lease on a 28,000-square-foot facility at Lincoln Plaza in Caguas as a satellite of its Detroit headquarters.

The U.S. Department of Defense provided the information.

As it has done in Detroit over the past 10 years, LIFT will convene leading technology partners to conduct development activities in advanced materials and manufacturing processes and advanced manufacturing workforce training. Under the five-year lease, the institute will occupy the top floor of Lincoln Plaza to conduct its activities.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly half of the gross domestic product of Puerto Rico and the island has a long history of manufacturing and a diverse manufacturing economy, including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agroecology, aerospace, electronics, computing, engineering, construction and apparel, the Defense Department noted.

“As a national manufacturing innovation institute, we have a national mandate to support manufacturers and their workforce wherever we can, and that includes opening this new satellite facility in Puerto Rico,” said Nigel Francis, LIFT CEO and executive director. “There is no doubt that innovation is ‘place based,’ which means we not only plan to bring the support of our existing ecosystem to support Puerto Rican manufacturers but are developing an engaged ecosystem of local manufacturers and helping advance their technologies toward commercialization.”

The institute, a nonprofit public-private partnership between industry, academia and government, recently announced a $1 million grant from the Department of Defense, through the Office of Naval Research, to support its activities on the island. That followed an initial $1.9 million in funding from the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program, overseen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and announced in 2022, the firm said.

“The presence of LIFT in our city represents a potential catalyst for the economic and technological development of Caguas and all of Puerto Rico,” said Caguas Mayor William Miranda Torres. “This Institute plays a fundamental role in promoting innovation and research in the manufacturing of lightweight materials. Its collaborative approach between industry, academic institutions and government will create an enabling environment in our region to address technological challenges, accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies and improve the competitiveness of our local companies. In addition, it will contribute to the generation of specialized jobs, thus promoting a vibrant workforce.”

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