Local News

Airplane parts manufacturer opens at Global TransPark

Posted July 1, 2010
Updated February 11, 2011

— The first major tenant of the North Carolina Global TransPark opened its doors Thursday, more than 20 years after the 2,400-acre industrial site opened in Kinston.

Spirit AeroSystems, the world's largest independent supplier of commercial airplane components, announced in May 2008 that it would build a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and hire more than 1,000 workers over five years and invest more than $570 million.

Employees at the facility will design and manufacture 9,000 composite fuselages for Airbus A350 passenger jets.

Initially they fired 75 people, but employment is on track to exceed 200 by the end of the year, the company says, and it will grow to about 700 over the next few year.

North Carolina gave the Wichita, Kan.-based Spirit an incentive package worth more than $125 million to locate to Kinston. It includes a $5 million grant and more than $20 million, payable over 12 years, tied to the creation of jobs at the plant.

Major tenant opens doors at Global TransPark Major tenant opens doors at Global TransPark

The Global TransPark, which has received more than $80 million in state and federal funding over the years, has been criticized as being a failed venture with just 23 other small tenants, including some state agencies.

A recent audit showed that it operated at a loss of nearly $3.5 million. It also owes the state a $35 million loan, due this year.

In the state budget signed on Wednesday, lawmakers reduced funding to Global TransPark by about $300,000, Rep. William Wainwright said. That reduction brought down Global’s funding for this fiscal year to around $1 million.

Lawmakers had considered slashing the park’s funding by half which would have reduced the funding to just over half a million dollars.

On Thursday, Gov. Bev Perdue called on Global TransPark to submit short and long-term strategic plans by August. She said she wants to see how Global plans to grow and attract other businesses.

Prior to Spirit, the state competed for several aviation projects to go to the Global TransPark. Among them were a Fed Ex hub that went to the Triad and a Boeing manufacturing plant that went to the state of Washington.

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  • rdu2you Jul 2, 2010

    Glad for the area jobs, but the whole GTP concept was misguided from the start. They wanted us to think that empty planes would be waiting at the end of conveyor belts ready to whisk products around the world. Unless you're chartering everything, all-cargo flights are flying first to their respective hubs like Memphis and Louisville, sorted by destination then re-shipped. You can have a manufacturing plant anywhere and do the same exact thing.

  • archmaker Jul 2, 2010

    Archmaker ... yes, the site selection began well before '92. The finalists were Roanoke Rapids and Kinston. Cats

    ha! i forgot about roanoke rapids - i bet they'd love to trade kinston the transpark for a relatively little used theater!!!

  • mrbigt032j Jul 2, 2010

    About time someone looked out for the eastern part of nc instead of spending all that money in raleigh and west .we also pay taxes in eastern nc

  • cooldela55 Jul 2, 2010

    From the recent GTP audit:

    "However, to attract more tenants, the TransPark needs to develop land owned on the north and south sides of the Kinston Regional Jetport, as well as build more facilities for potential tenants, not only for manufacturing and distribution, but also for aviation/aerospace."

    i.e., spend more money. Double down. How can the GTP spend more money when it is losing money? The Escheat Fund pending debet hangs over their heads like the sword of Damocles. If more building are built will they be leased for a $100 per year?

    Spend more money?

  • Cats Jul 2, 2010

    JAT - the people around the TransPark have had no difficulty in selling their land to the GTP, including me. It is a minuscule percentage of the people of Lenoir County that have complaints. The support is as close to 100% as you can get.

  • cooldela55 Jul 2, 2010

    Cats,

    Sorry, I can't tell you much about FedEx. The GTP boondoogle keeps me and all of Lenoir County exhausted. The monster at hand is big enough for us without having to go looking for another. But I do think the debacle of the GTP has received for more attention that whatever is going on with FedEx.

  • Retired07 Jul 2, 2010

    I wonder what the cost per taxpayer verses the true economic return per taxpayer would amount to?? Not any of the smoke and mirrors figures but the real thing. Just another "Boondogle" unleashed by the "Good Ole Boy Crowd" on the average NC working man to enrich a few well connected.

  • Cats Jul 2, 2010

    Archmaker ... yes, the site selection began well before '92. The finalists were Roanoke Rapids and Kinston.

    cooldela55 ... can you also tell me how much the state has invested in Fed-Ex ... with nothing to show for it? Have you been watching that boondoggle take shape?

  • JAT Jul 2, 2010

    garrett - the people who have benefitted are the ones who didn't need more money to begin with. One big insurance guy got a road paved by his house, I think; the jobs have been given to the good ol' boy network; etc.

    I still remember when everyone was all in an uproar about the GTP taking their land and putting a train track through farms. Good thing they didn't panic. It's never going to amount to anything because of where it's located and the mindset in that county.

  • Cats Jul 2, 2010

    And if you lived here 40 years ago you were saying the same things when IBM moved into RTP.

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