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(Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) Jacksonville-based Unison Industries, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GE Aviation, will seek approval from the Planning Commission in Beavercreek, Ohio, this week to rezone one of the city’s largest tracts of undeveloped land to construct a new facility.

If approved, it would mark the first major step of a project that should eventually enable the company to consolidate its seven-building manufacturing campus in Beavercreek into a standalone complex, bringing 400 hourly and salaried employees under one roof.

Beavercreek planning officials will review a request Dec. 2 from Unison Industries LLC, a Jacksonville-based company owned by GE Aviation that designs and manufactures engine components for aircraft, to rezone more than 53 acres of agricultural land at the Miami Valley Research Park where the proposed facility would be built.

GE Aviation spokeswoman Jennifer Villarreal said the company has signed a letter of intent to secure the site, which is just a few miles from GE Unison’s existing manufacturing campus.

“The physical layout of the current campus isn’t ideal as it requires parts movement between buildings that results in significant waste and extra cost, and limits teamwork,” Villarreal said in an emailed statement. “Our intent is to simplify operations by optimizing seven manufacturing facilities into one.”

Villarreal said the plan is for the new building to maintain new product introduction, new technology development, and the existing high-mix/low-volume products and programs.

Unison’s existing campus manufactures gas turbine tubes, ducts and manifolds; offers machining, fabrication and investment casting capabilities; and hosts on-site product engineering, new product development and testing.

Unison currently leases four buildings in the Beavercreek area and owns three. The company plans to exit all but one of those seven manufacturing facilities, eventually selling off its properties and exit leases of the others it will no longer occupy.

Employees will continue working at the existing buildings during the construction and transition phases. Unison is targeting the end of 2022 to complete the consolidation effort.

“Securing this property provides our team, local municipalities, and developers time for land rezoning, further site due diligence and land-purchase negotiations,” Villarreal said.

The project will not impact or involve other GE Aviation operations based in Dayton, and it is not expected to impact employment or customer commitments.

The land under consideration for rezoning is owned by the Miami Valley Research Foundation — a university-related nonprofit jointly operated by Wright State University, the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College. It is bounded by Interstate 675 to the east, Research Boulevard to the south and the Walnut Grove Country Club to the west.

Last year, Beavercreek officials said they were taking early steps to transform the 53-acre parcel into a build-ready site. At that time, city manager Pete Landrum said the land would be an ideal spot for research, offices or high-tech manufacturing.

“We’re never going to say no to a defense contractor,” Landrum said previously. “But we’re trying to diversify … We want to make sure that there’s good other mixture of high-tech business.”

Activity has skyrocketed at the research park in 2020. Earlier this year, Cleveland-area developer Industrial Commercial Properties invested millions to expand its footprint there. That same company is looking to develop a luxury apartment community at the park, which is planned to be a 35-acre mixed-use development with 300 units.

Other projects slated for the park include a $12 million headquarters for Life Connection of Ohio, as well as a proposed “Defense Technology Connector Facility” that would help the community support Wright-Patt’s efforts to promote digital engineering and increase digital processes in the acquisition of weapons systems.

Photo courtesy of Unison.com