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(Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) – The Boeing Co. will be bringing 400 new jobs to Jacksonville as part of an expansion that will see the Jacksonville Aviation Authority build a 394,000-square-foot facility at Cecil Airport for the aviation giant.

It’s a deal that JAA CEO Mark VanLoh called “one of the most significant in the JAA’s history.”

Boeing has been a tenant at Cecil Airport for 21 years. The new facility would be located on the northeast portion of the Cecil Airport property that buttresses 103rd Street. The company’s current facility is on the west side of the property.

The new jobs would more than double the 350-person workforce Boeing has at Cecil.

On Thursday, the Aviation Authority board unanimously approved a 25-year lease with Boeing, with three three-year extensions.

Construction on the facility would begin in 2021 and finish in 2023, with a proposed opening in January 2024. The company is finalizing the design process now.

The facility, on 30 acres of land, will eventually house all of Boeing’s on-site operations, the company said. It will include a nearly 270,000-square-foot hangar and more than 100,000 square feet of office and support shop space.

“This investment in facility improvements supports our ability to deliver on current and future defense services work at the Cecil Field site and aligns with Boeing’s infrastructure optimization efforts,” Boeing Cecil Field site leader Warren Helm said in a statement. “We collaborate continuously with our U.S. defense customers to ensure our modification capabilities can support their readiness objectives in strategic locations around the globe. This new agreement builds upon that commitment.”

At Cecil, Boeing provides structural repairs to F/A-18s and EA-18G flight control surfaces and converts F/A-19 Super Hornets into flight demonstration aircraft for the Navy’s Blue Hornets team.

The local operation also supports the U.S. Air Force’s QF-16 program, which converts retired F-16s into autonomous aerial targets used for combat training and testing.

Photo courtesy of JAA.