In 2015, the Hawaii State Legislature appropriated $11 million in Capital Improvement Funds (CIP) to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to create an Innovation and Manufacturing Center (IMC) that would bolster the technology sector in East Hawaii.

The Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), DLIR and University of Hawaii agreed to collectively fund a third-party feasibility study to assess Hilo’s economic climate and determine how to draw support for local companies. HTDC managed the collective funds and administered the study.

In 2017, the study concluded such a facility was in high demand and procured a list of industries that would benefit. The report recommended Foreign Trade Zone 9 (FTZ 9) near Hilo International Airport as a suitable location for the project.

A working group was formed comprised of stakeholders and experts, including PISCES staff. PISCES is part of the design group and is involved in assessing needs of the facility and guiding its direction. HTDC has partnered with University of Hawaii’s Community Design Center (UHCDC) to provide proof of concept research, analysis, planning, design and cost estimates.