Cirrus Aircraft is expanding its Duluth, Minnesota campus with the addition of a former Northwest Airlines then AAR hangar to its headquarters. The facility has been empty since May 2020 and is owned by Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA).
Cirrus acquired the 189,000-sq-ft, 39-acre facility, which includes a 60-year ground lease, and plans to invest “heavily” to build an “innovation center.” The company expects to hire 80 additional engineers in the next three years, joining the 300 engineers, scientists, and technicians in Duluth. The new facility, according to a Cirrus spokeswoman, is “for engineers to develop the next generation of Cirrus aircraft.”
The closing of the former AAR facility led to the loss of 200 jobs, according to DEDA. The sale will save DEDA more than $600,000 in annual expenses.
“This investment solidifies Cirrus Aircraft’s commitment to continuous innovation,” said Cirrus CEO Zean Nielsen. “We want talent to think of Cirrus Aircraft, Duluth, and now the new innovation center as a special place where the latest and greatest general aviation technologies come to life. The innovation center is designed to become the epicenter for personal aviation engineering and to attract top talent from around the world.”
“This investment in a world-class facility brings together our engineering, flight test, experimental, advanced design and development, and other key product development areas,” added Cirrus president of innovation and operations Pat Waddick.