To keep up with growing customer demand for its series of airplanes, Cirrus Aircraft will build a roughly $16 million facility in the Duluth Airport Industrial Park.
The Duluth-based manufacturer’s expansion is expected to create 150 new jobs, pushing its employee roster to 825 workers. Cirrus said the new manufacturing jobs would pay up to $14 an hour with benefits.
The company’s 68,000-square-foot facility will be dedicated to painting and finishing Cirrus’ airplanes, including its Vision SF50 jet, which sells for $2 million. Cirrus said orders for the single-engine personal jet have already topped 550.
Designs for the new facility include offices, break rooms, and a shipping and receiving area. Burns & McDonnell, an architecture, engineering and construction firm with offices in both Minneapolis and Duluth, will be providing design services for the project.
Costs for building the facility will be $12.7 million, but Cirrus anticipates infrastructure and equipment to be another $3 million. The facility is due to be operational in October.
To ensure Cirrus continued its operations in Duluth, the city will be contributing nearly $8 million in infrastructure and construction financing for the new complex. Additionally, the state announced it would be backing the aviation company's expansion. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is providing a $4 million loan to the project from the Minnesota Investment Fund. DEED said it would not ask for repayment if Cirrus meets its hiring and investments goals.
"We’re fervent believers in Duluth as an aviation manufacturing hub, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to continue innovating and growing as a company here through this vital new facility," said Bill King, Cirrus' vice president of development, in a statement. "The city has been a tremendous partner to us since we opened our first production facility in 1994, and we’re proud to continue working with them as we bring industry-leading aircraft to the market.”
Cirrus also plans to develop a “Vision Center” that would be located in Knoxville, Tennessee. That facility—which the company aims to open this year—will operate as a customer service center for buyers to test Cirrus planes without the unpredictability of Minnesota weather.
Last month, Cirrus also unveiled its 2016 SR series, a variety of four-to-five seat, single-engine piston planes that have been best sellers in the world for 13 years.
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