Press release from Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce:
In conjunction with the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX) today announced plans to invest approximately $650 million through 2027 in a new Buncombe County manufacturing facility. The milestone investment in new building, technology, machinery and equipment is intended to create 800 new positions through 2027 including career opportunities in engineering, technology, production and management.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units. Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide.
“This investment will enable Pratt & Whitney to continue to modernize and transform its operations with cutting-edge technologies,” said Chris Calio, president, Pratt & Whitney. “Turbine airfoils are a critical component across our engine portfolio and demand will increase significantly as the market recovers over the next several years. We need to invest today to ensure that we have the infrastructure, production capabilities and workforce in place to meet future market demand and to provide the best products to our customers worldwide. We are grateful for the support provided by the State of North Carolina and the local community.”
At full buildout, the operations of Pratt & Whitney are intended to create over 800 jobs at average wage of $68,000, approximately 60% above the average wage in Buncombe County. Additionally, the company offers a competitive benefits package. The project is expected to generate over $54 million in new annual labor income for Buncombe County and the Asheville Metro Region, according to estimates by the Department of Commerce. The hiring process for the facility is expected to begin in late 2021.
“The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is proud to welcome Pratt & Whitney to this community as they announce the single largest job creation project in our history,” Chairman Brownie Newman said. “This project will help diversify our local economy and create hundreds of new jobs that pay above the national average.”
Company plans call for the development of a new 1 million square foot advanced manufacturing facility that will be situated on an approximately 100-acre tract overlooking Interstate 26 south of the French Broad River. The company’s planned facility marks the first private investment to be located in the Biltmore Park West development, an approximately 1,000-acre master-planned development located in south Buncombe County developed by Biltmore Farms, LLC. The collaboration between Pratt & Whitney and Biltmore Farms will catalyze important site, access and infrastructure improvements at Biltmore Park West, helping to pave the way for future employment and economic development in south Buncombe County.
“From the moment our team met with Pratt & Whitney and learned of their plans for a world class manufacturing facility, we knew they would craft a brighter future for the people of Western North Carolina,” said Jack Cecil, CEO of Biltmore Farms, LLC and developer of Biltmore Park West. “The vision for this facility to become a lighthouse location of innovation for the aerospace industry and for our region was inspiring, but ultimately it was our shared corporate values that helped us push forward with our collaboration and this project during these truly unprecedented times.”
The planned Pratt & Whitney facility will be accessed by a bridge crossing the French Broad River, connecting to NC Highway 191. The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $12 million to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Community Betterment Foundation to support construction of this critical public infrastructure.
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a reliable economic development partner in North Carolina. Over two decades, Golden LEAF has awarded more than $1 billion to local governments and nonprofits across North Carolina for projects resulting in more than 65,000 new jobs, almost $700 million in new payroll, and training for more than 85,000 workers.
“Long-term economic advancement is the core mission of the Golden LEAF Foundation,” said Bo Biggs, Golden LEAF Board Chair. “The Board is pleased to be part of bringing a manufacturing project of this magnitude to North Carolina.”
“Golden LEAF has been a long-term partner in supporting the aerospace industry in North Carolina,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “These quality jobs and this significant capital investment will enhance the economy of Western North Carolina. We are proud to support a project that will measurably move the economic needle in our state.”
“Economic Development must always be about the future, and this project is no different,” stated EDC Board Chairman Michael Meguiar. “The impacts of this announcement will be transformational for our region, strengthening our workforce with state-of-the-art training programs and making investments in the kind of high-quality infrastructure and industrial acreage needed to grow economic opportunity for the next generation.”
Other groups involved in the expansion include Buncombe County and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Golden LEAF Foundation, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Biltmore Farms LLC and Duke Energy.