Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO | Piedmont Triad Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Baker (left) and Chair Paul Mengert talk to reporters last week after Cambridge, U.K.-based Marshall Aerospace announced it has selected the Greensboro airport for a $50 million facility expected to create 240 jobs.
by CHRIS BURRITT
NW Greensboro - Piedmont Triad International (PTI) Airport won a recruiting war with several other states to snag Britain's Marshall Aerospace as the newest tenant at the airport.
Cambridge, U.K.-based Marshall announced April 25 it plans to invest $50 million and create about 240 jobs in a facility that will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the U.S. military's fleet of tactical transport Hercules C-130 airplanes. Operations are slated to start in early 2025.
Securing Marshall's U.S. operation base comes two years, three months after PTI landed Boom Supersonic. The Denver, Colorado-based company is grading its 62-acre site and preparing to start building its $500 million passenger airplane factory. It plans to start production in 2024, with employment eventually reaching 2,400 people.
Marshall's facility will be located near Boom's site along Interstate 73. Together, the two operations will occupy roughly 100 acres, or a tenth of the 1,000 acres slated for economic development at PTI, according to Kevin Baker, the airport authority's executive director. Economic development recruiters are talking to other potential PTI tenants.
"We're not done," authority Chair Paul Mengert told Triad leaders gathered at the airport last week for Marshall's announcement.
Marshall is the U.K.'s largest privately held aerospace and defense contractor. In a statement, the company said its selection of PTI supports its plans to expand in North America, the world's largest market for the C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft.
In its first phase of development at PTI, the company plans to build a single hangar with six bays for maintenance, repair and overhaul services and an additional bay for painting.
Marshall expressed its initial interest in PTI about two years ago and then grew more serious about the site last year, Baker said. Amid competition with other sites, he told reporters last week "we had to prove why our site was the best."
For several years, PTI has been grading property on both sides of I-73 in preparation for new tenants. "When a company likes this comes along, they can get their building going that much faster," Baker said.
Marshall initially looked at more than 30 sites across the U.S. before narrowing its list to sites in Alabama, Kansas, Missouri and North Carolina, according to David Rhoades, communications director for the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
As part of its evaluation of the top 10 sites in nine states, the company considered several factors, including the availability of labor, training and development programs, access to suppliers and financial incentives, Rhoades said in an email earlier this week.
Recruiters used more than $3 million in state and local incentives to lure Marshall. Incentives from the state Department of Commerce totaled as much as $2.6 million, while the Guilford County Board of Commissioners gave incentives for as much as $433,000. The Greensboro City Council approved at least $240,000 in incentives.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement that the state's reputation in the aerospace category "continues to grow worldwide," as Marshall joins numerous other aviation-related companies employing about 8,600 people at PTI. Aside from Boom, they include FedEx, Honda Aircraft Co., HAECO Americas and Cessna.