October 27, 2020

Northwest Florida Roundup

Pensacola is getting on the aerospace map

Carlton Proctor | 1/26/2017

Pensacola officials are hailing construction of a $46-million commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility as a major step toward putting the city on the aerospace map.

The project’s centerpiece is a 173,000-sq.-ft. hangar on an 18-acre airport site. It will become home to VT MAE, a Singapore-based aerospace company.

Designed to accommodate two Boeing 777s or four Boeing 757s simultaneously, the facility will create about 150 jobs that pay between $30,000 and $58,000 annually.

“The importance of the VT project is you have another major aerospace company that’s made the decision to invest in this region and continue to grow the rapidly developing aerospace corridor that runs along Interstate 10,” says Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest, the economic development agency that spearheaded the effort, along with Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward.

The city is aiming to benefit from its proximity to Mobile, Ala., home to a $600-million Airbus assembly plant.

The VT MAE project is funded by a $23.8-million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, with another $7 million from the state’s Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion fund.

Escambia County will contribute $4.8 million, and the city of Pensacola $3.2 million, while VT MAE’s share tops out at $7.24 million.

Upon completion, the city of Pensacola will own the facility and lease it to VT MAE for 30 years.

Business Briefs

PENSACOLA — Ever’man Cooperative, a grocery market founded in downtown Pensacola more than four decades ago, plans a second location on Pensacola’s north side near the University of West Florida. The site will include a grocery store, cafe and educational center. » Carlton Ulmer has been named president and CEO of West Florida Healthcare. He was CEO of Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in Panama City.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Ken Wright, a partner with Live Work Play Developers, says Killian Construction of Missouri has been selected as general contractor for the $37-million Landmark Center, a mixed-use complex that will occupy a two-acre site in downtown Fort Walton Beach.

DESTIN — The Henderson, a 170-room hotel adjacent to Henderson Beach State Park, has opened. The hotel, owned by Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises, will be managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts.

TALLAHASSEE — Faculty and students at Florida A&M will assist Lockheed Martin in developing space exploration projects thanks to an agreement between the school and the aerospace giant. Over the next five years, Lockheed Martin will commission $5 million worth of work related to space exploration, the university says.

Innovation

Easier E-Commerce

Pensacola-based Pay Sell develops software that streamlines e-commerce for wireless stores and online fund-raising efforts. Launched in 2011 by Jibril Sulaiman, Pay Sell has posted a three-year growth rate of 783% and reported revenue of nearly $10 million in 2015. The company ranked 484th on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S.

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