New details on Gulfstream expansion plans

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -  Gulfstream Aerospace will be building a new facility at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. An official announcement is expected Monday.

We knew Gulfstream was looking to lease 160 acres of land from the airport, which was approved by the Airport Commission at their meeting Wednesday. Also on the agenda was a mysterious and secretive Project X with no names attached to it describing a company beginning construction of a facility near the airport.

It was confirmed, Project X is Gulfstream.

"Project X is Gulfstream," Graham told WTOC.

Top secret no more. Gulfstream's major announcement is taking shape.

"It's going to be a facility. Since it needs a taxi way, it is aviation related. That's a no brainer," Graham said.

Another no brainer, plenty of jobs coming with the construction of a new aviation manufacturing facility as the airport commission approved leasing 160 acres of land to Gulfstream, north of the corporate logos as you drive into the airport.

Graham calls it a "double whammy."

"I was told many years ago, if Gulfstream expands, you make sure they expand in Savannah," he said. "It will be new employment and an economic boom to the community."

Following the meeting, WTOC learned of two more companies which are likely linked to Gulfstream's expansion, including Rolls Royce and Spirit Aerosystems.

However, Gulfstream's Joe Drake was at the meeting and confirmed the news of a manufacturing facility, but gave no other details other than they would announce specifics Monday.

"Really, I can't say a whole lot," Drake said.

Drake seemed to have no intentions of getting hammered with questions and left immediatley after Gulfstream items were approved.

"His boss has told him what he could and could not say," Graham told WTOC. "You talk to local contractors. They will be very happy."

"Work. Work for local people, for local contractors," Jimmy Ray, business manager for IBEW Local 508, told WTOC.

Ray says it's not a hard equation to figure out.

"Gulfstream has always been a good neighbor. They have always pretty well used local contractors. Of course, that is putting local people to work," he said. "They always use local people and that is a big deal to us."

However, exactly what will be manufactured after construction is complete, is still a bit of mystery.

"Stay tuned Monday so they can tell you what it will be," Graham said.

Graham told WTOC they have been working with Gulfstream on this project for more than a year, and it will be new construction, new jobs and will be aviation related. As far as specifics, he would not say and says he does not know.

There will be a lot of road changes with the project, as the airport plans on squeezing seven years of improvements into the next two years.

There are still many questions. How many jobs? What will be manufactured? Is it a partnership between Gulfstream and another company? Those questions will all be answered Monday morning.

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