$44M aircraft repair facility latest huge investment at Dayton airport

Separate developer estimates $348M investment, nearly 4,000 jobs from its 11 facilities.

The Dayton International Airport is becoming nearly as important to the local job market as it is to the community’s access to air travel, as developers continue to pump millions of dollars into new facilities at and around the aviation property.

A commercial real estate developer that has acquired large amounts of land around the airport estimates that its projects will create nearly 4,000 new jobs and will result in nearly $350 million in new investment.

But other investments also are taking place, such as a new, 96,000-square-foot hangar for a growing aerospace company.

“The redevelopment around the airport is providing jobs for our community and tax revenues,” said Gil Turner, Dayton’s aviation director.

On Wednesday, the Dayton City Commission approved development agreements with Sierra Nevada Corp. and SD Hangar Partners LLC in support of a new aircraft maintenance and repair facility at the Dayton airport.

SD Hangar Partners will spend about $44 million to construct and equip the new hangar facility, and Sierra Nevada will create about 147 new jobs at the site within about three years, according to city documents.

Dayton has agreed to provide Sierra Nevada with up to $195,000 in assistance for its expansion project, and the city will give SD Hangar Partners up to $300,000 to help with infrastructure and site improvement costs.

Sierra Nevada, based in Nevada, says it specializes in aerospace and space exploration innovations, including “aircraft integrations, navigation and guidance systems, threat detection and security, scientific research and infrastructure protection.”

The city’s agreement with Sierra Nevada says that the company commits to making “every reasonable effort” to hire people who live in Dayton to fill open positions.

“This agreement also includes efforts to encourage partnerships with local workforce development” agencies, said LaShea Lofton, Dayton’s deputy city manager.

The hangar will be located on the northeast side of the airport, just south of building 10, inside the perimeter fence.

This will be one of the largest aircraft maintenance hangars in Ohio, capable of accommodating some of the largest military aircraft, such as the C-5 Galaxy and the C-17 Globemaster or the Boeing 747, said Turner, aviation director.

“The highly skilled workforce that will be hired by (Sierra Nevada Corp.) to perform specialized work for SNC is exciting,” Turner said. “This is a big win for Dayton and the state of Ohio.”

The city commission this week also approved tax-sharing payments for a few school districts and jurisdictions that are tied to payrolls at commercial and industrial sites around the aviation facility.

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The city has sold large swaths of land around the airport to NorthPoint Development, which has constructed new warehouse, distribution and commercial facilities for companies including Crocs, Chewy, Amazon, Purina, Energizer and others.

Information in city documents indicates that NorthPoint Development is constructing 11 buildings that will be home to 3,962 jobs and that combined represent about $348 million in new investment.

The Dayton metro area — including Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties by a Bureau of Labor Statistics definition — is home to about 384,000 jobs.

NorthPoint has completed seven buildings, and three are under construction, said Turner.

The airport still has some land available for non-aviation uses, but Turner said his primary focus will be on attracting another aviation user like Sierra Nevada Corp. for the remaining development sites close to the airport runways.

“I believe that in the future there will be greater demand for local air cargo services at the Dayton airport,” he said.

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Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. said the city has wanted to attract new tenants to its vacant hangars for a long time.

He said aircraft mechanic jobs are in demand and pay well.

“Those are $90,000 and $100,000 jobs a year, and we need as many of them as we can get,” he said.

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