Florida’s aerospace agency, Space Florida, aims to bring 2,100 manufacturing jobs to Brevard County

Space Florida — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Image by: athlux

Space Florida pushed forward with negotiations on Tuesday to bring 2,100 spacecraft manufacturing jobs to Brevard County over the next three years. 

The Space Florida Board of Directors approved a staff request to complete negotiations with a company that is expected to invest more than $300 million in a new facility located at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. The identity of the company has not yet been released, with the proposal named “Project Griffin.”

Howard Haug, Space Florida executive vice president, treasurer and chief investment officer, said in a conference call with the board that the agency will pursue “conduit financing” for equipment and construction acquisitions. Lease agreements between Space Florida and the Melbourne Airport Authority will also be worked on, along with sublease agreements with the company for the property, Haug said.

Haug added the project is subject to funding and approval of a final agreement that would go before the board.

The jobs being pursued are expected to have an average wage of $84,000 a year, plus its benefits.

Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey said he is very excited to see the idea of more high-paying jobs coming to Melbourne.

“I’m looking forward to the end result,” Alfrey said. “I’m glad that the city is at the forefront of economic development in the county.”

But Alfrey warned that nothing has been finalized yet.

Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, also expressed content about the prospects of the company’s proposed Melbourne operation.

“We’re capturing and finally building momentum from years of work that this community’s done, starting from Embraer,” Weatherman said. “It’s a big project. We’re excited about it. And everything is competitive.”

In commenting on Project Griffin, Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez said: “When you have a project of that magnitude—capital investment, equipment, machinery, the types of employees you’re going to generate—you’re always going to see a positive impact for the state and for the region.”

“Because of the taxes and high-wage jobs, they’re going to bring in. Because of the economic spillover. Because of the direct and indirect economic benefits,” said Nuñez, who chairs the Space Florida board of directors.

In September, satellite manufacturer Terran Orbital decided to base its brand-new 660,000-square-foot headquarters at the Kennedy Space Center’s former Shuttle Landing Facility, now called the Launch and Landing Facility, which is operated by Space Florida.

That project is also expected to produce 2,100 jobs by the end of 2025. These jobs will carry an average salary of $84,000.

Space Florida has 70 to 75 projects in various different stages of development according to Nunez. Not all of these developing projects are guaranteed to pan out, but others will come before the board in the next 12 to 18 months.

“The amount, the intensity, the velocity of the projects is something that the state has never seen. And that is, I believe, in due part to the governor’s leadership and his vision for space,” Nuñez said.

“And also, the economic climate we’re seeing here, vis-à-vis other states,” she said.

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