Thursday, September 26, 2013

Boeing considers building facility in Daytona: Aircraft giant, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in talks to bring $24 million facility to school’s planned research park

DAYTONA BEACH — Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University officials and The Boeing Co., the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, are in talks about building a $24 million testing facility for engines at the school’s planned research park in Daytona Beach.

John Johnson, the university’s president, made the announcement Thursday at a Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“This looks very promising,” Johnson said after the meeting. He said the two organizations are still in the early stages of discussion and are working on developing a letter-of-intent regarding the facility.

If Boeing and Embry-Riddle can reach an agreement, the facility could be up and running within two years, Johnson said. He would not say how many jobs the testing center could bring to the area.

Boeing currently tests its engines at a General Electric plant in Cincinnati.

Johnson said making the move to Embry-Riddle’s aviation research park would give Boeing more flexibility in testing engines that aren’t manufactured by General Electric.

A Boeing spokeswoman on Thursday said she was unable to comment at this time.

Rob Ehrhardt, Volusia County economic development manager, said Boeing’s interest in establishing a facility at Embry-Riddle’s research park is “another example of great collaboration in our community. We are most fortunate to have the No. 1 aviation university on the planet in our community.”

The university has been working to develop the 90-acre research park along Clyde Morris Boulevard, south of the university’s campus, for more than a decade.

Larsen Motorsports became the research park’s first tenant when the company moved into a facility at the corner of Clyde Morris and Aviation Center Parkway. The building is part of the complex’s 13-acre initial development phase. Raleigh, N.C.-based Advanced Aerospace Solutions also has office space at the research park in a building it intends to share with other tenants.

In June, Austrian aviation company Diamond Aircraft Industries — the world’s third-largest general aviation manufacturer — announced plans to also become a tenant of the research park.

In late 2011, Boeing announced plans to locate its commercial crew program headquarters at Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County. The company estimated the move would create 140 jobs by June of this year and 550 jobs by December 2015.

Thursday’s chamber luncheon, at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, was sponsored by Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.

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