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Jet engine maker creating 800 jobs paying $68,000/year

ASHEVILLE — Pratt & Whitney announced plans last week to invest $650 million through 2027 in a new manufacturing facility that will create 800 new jobs in Buncombe County.

The milestone investment in new building, technology, machinery and equipment will bring career opportunities in engineering, technology, production and management. A division of Raytheon Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney made the announcement in conjunction with the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units. Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide.

At full buildout, the Pratt & Whitney operation is intended to create more than 800 jobs at an average wage of $68,000 —  60 percent above the average wage in Buncombe County. Additionally, the company offers a competitive benefits package. The project is expected to generate more than $54 million in new annual labor income for Buncombe County and the Asheville Metro Region, according to estimates by the Department of Commerce. The hiring process for the facility is expected to begin in late 2021.

Company plans call for the development of a new 1 million-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility that will be situated on an approximately 100-acre tract overlooking Interstate 26 south of the French Broad River. The company’s planned facility marks the first private investment to be located in the Biltmore Park West development, an approximately 1,000-acre master-planned development located in south Buncombe County developed by Biltmore Farms, LLC. The collaboration between Pratt & Whitney and Biltmore Farms will catalyze important site, access and infrastructure improvements at Biltmore Park West, helping to pave the way for future employment and economic development in south Buncombe County.

The planned Pratt & Whitney facility will be accessed by a bridge crossing the French Broad River, connecting to N.C. Highway 191. The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $12 million to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Community Betterment Foundation to support construction of the critical public infrastructure.

“This is another excellent example of how North Carolina has become renowned as a business-friendly state," state Sen. Chuck Edwards said. "In winning this project for our region, we saw phenomenal collaboration by state and local governments and private partners. I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to help play a role.”

Other groups involved in the expansion include Buncombe County and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Golden LEAF Foundation, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Biltmore Farms LLC and Duke Energy.