MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Major changes are envisioned on the landscape near Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, where a new innovation center is planned.

An Air Force general says Maxwell Boulevard could be lined with new buildings housing major aerospace and technology firms.

The air base plans to build an innovation center outside its secure gates where researchers from Air University can collaborate with the nation's top tech minds, potentially bringing in new business and jobs, The Montgomery Advertiser reported .

Air University at Maxwell is described by the military as a key component of Air Education and Training Command. It's the Air Force's center for professional military education.

Former Air University commander Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast says the pool of talent at Air University already includes future Air Force leaders and future leaders of other nations.

The innovation center "is going to become a honeypot for every company that wants to do business with the military, every person that wants to innovate because they can come to a place where they can act faster than any other place in the country," Kwast said.

"When we break open the gates of that base and bring them out into the city, with the kind of connectivity that this (Montgomery Internet Exchange) provides, you just hang on to your hat and watch how quickly we can invent new ways of living the American dream," he said.

The center is being developed as a partnership between the military, the city, the county and the state.

A similar collaboration helped create the Montgomery-based internet exchange two years ago with the idea of accelerating access speeds and building data partners. Now known as MGMix, it's the second-busiest exchange in the Southeast.

The Air Force is committed to the innovation center because it helps the military stay ahead of the curve on tech advances and cyber security, while also benefiting the community, Kwast said.

"We want to innovate, and the key to innovation is a broad group of people that get together and look at the problem through different lenses," Kwast said.


Information from: Montgomery Advertiser,