Large-scale aerospace manufacturing project in Moses Lake helped along with state grant

Advanced Permitting Grant will build on growing aerospace industry momentum at Grant County International Airport

The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced a $350,000 grant to Grant County to advance environmental permitting efforts and help prepare sites for large-scale manufacturing development at the Port of Moses Lake.

The County will use the funding to conduct environmental review for 400-acres of property at Grant County International Airport. While no specific tenants have been identified, the phased development proposes a number of potential buildings totaling as much as 2.6 million square feet available to aerospace and other advanced manufacturers that would benefit from being near one of the longest runways in the United States.

In recent years, the Port of Moses Lake has attracted significant interest from the international aerospace community. In 2013, Everett-based Aviation Technical Services established a VIP aircraft completion center now employing approximately 60 people. Last year, Seattle-based AeroTEC partnered with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) of Japan to conduct flight test and certification operations for the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) there. A new 65,000-square foot hangar is under construction to support the effort and the Port anticipates as many as 150 engineers and an additional 20 supply chain employees to establish residence in Moses Lake throughout the multi-year project. Moses Lake is also home to BMW/SGL’s carbon fiber production facility, which is undergoing an expansion that will make it the largest facility of its type in the world.

“Now is our time,” said Mike Conley, President of the Port of Moses Lake Commission.  “Moses Lake and Grant County International Airport have had a long history in supporting the aerospace industry in Washington. We have proven our ability to provide a highly capable workforce and low-cost renewable power, as well as the land to support advanced industries. This grant provides us with the opportunity to get ahead on the permitting process and attract even more companies here.”

“The land around Grant County International Airport provides some of the greatest opportunity in Washington for large-scale aerospace manufacturing,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “This funding will help get this property ready to go so companies can hit the ground running when they choose to establish new or expanded operations in our state. Promoting broad-based, geographically diverse job growth is core to Governor Inslee’s economic development strategy for a working Washington.”

The Advanced Permitting Grant Program was created by the Washington State Legislature in November 2013 during the special legislative session called to help the state win the Boeing 777X program. The Legislature appropriated $2 million to help local jurisdictions advance environmental review and permitting in and around large manufacturing sites. Previous grants have been awarded to the City of Spokane and Paine Field in Snohomish County.

“I am very pleased that Grant County was able to compete and successfully win funding for this project,” said Senator Judy Warnick, 13th District—Moses Lake. “This funding will build on the work we are doing to attract more business to the area around our airport, and provide more family wage jobs. The area will be an innovation hub for aerospace manufacturing and will bring so many benefits to the district and state.”

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