* Florida economic development agency to finance, own
* Embraer has assembly plant, customer center in Florida
* Engineering center to employ 200 people
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 21 Brazil's Embraer
, the world's third-largest producer of commercial
aircraft, is expanding its presence in the United States with an
aviation research, development and design center in Melbourne,
Florida, the company announced on Wednesday.
Space Florida, a state-backed economic development agency
focused on expanding aerospace and related business in Florida,
will finance, build and own the facility, which is expected to
employ about 200 engineers and other highly skilled workers,
with average annual salaries of $70,000.
The first 40 positions will be filled this year, said Gary
Spulak, president of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Embraer
Space Florida will finance $18.2 million for the project,
with another $6 million coming from the Florida Innovation Fund.
"This new state-of-the-art facility will increase the scope
and depth of our engineering capacity, extending it globally,"
"This is a very significant one-of-a-kind project and a big
win for Florida, Brevard County and the city of Melbourne," he
The center, which initially will be focused on business jet
interior design work, will be located adjacent to Embraer's
newly opened 80,000-square-foot assembly plant, the first
outside Brazil, and its 58,000-square-foot Executive Jets
Construction of the new 67,000-square-foot facility is
expected to begin shortly and be completed next year.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who traveled to Melbourne for the
announcement, said the state's business climate was key to
landing the deal.
"We know that for companies to do well in Florida, they have
to have lower taxes, less regulation and less litigation," Scott
said. "We know that their customers expect that or they will
never be able to compete."
An available pool of skilled labor, many idled by the
shutdown of NASA's space shuttle program last year, also was a
draw, added Spulak.