North Charlestonshowed the world what it can do and that it has plenty of room to grow its aerospace-manufacturing capabilities in the future.
The new Boeing interiors facility opened in December is onPalmetto Commerce Parkway, a four-lane road finished just a year ago. Along the parkway’s six-mile length, there are multiple turnouts that lead only to wooded land primed for commercial development.
Beside the Boeing interiors facility, a cluster of businesses has already developed. Next door, Daimler is assembling commercial vans. Across the street, Venture Aerobearings makes bearings for jet engines.
Adjacent to Venture, ground has been broken for a 110,000-square-foot airplane-structures plant for TIGHitco, a supplier to Boeing and other aerospace companies, that will bring 350 new jobs.
East of the TIGHitco site, a four-mile stretch of the parkway sits largely empty and awaiting development, 20 minutes’ drive from Boeing’s final assembly plant.
In contrast, the available land around Boeing’sEverettplant is more limited, with only 75 acres on the west side of the runway undeveloped. Boeing is studying how to squeeze more work into itsEverettfootprint and possibly expand it.
South Carolinawill have a prime shot at being Boeing’s choice of location for future jets.
On Friday, Marco Cavazzoni, Boeing’s general manager of the final assembly center, said the construction of the $750 million building came in seven months ahead of schedule. And he praised the state’s workforce-training program — which gives up to 24 weeks of skills training to Boeing hires.
TridentTechnicalCollege, which hosts the Boeing training, is in line for a building dedicated to aerospace.
Indeed, the mayor sees an opportunity closer even than the next all-new Boeing jet. The airplane maker is also weighing the launch of a version of its large 777 jetliner that would feature very long wings made from carbon-fiber-reinforced composite plastic.
Boeing’sSouth Carolinacomplex, which makes and assembles only composites, must be considered a possible location for a plant to build the wing of that plane, known as 777X.
And if there are any opportunities to build new Boeing jets, he said, the state ofSouth Carolinacould come through with more financial incentives if needed, despite severe state budget cuts in recent years under Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.