Cirrus To Turn Duluth Maintenance Facility Into ‘Innovation Center’

Cirrus Building 1

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth-based Cirrus Aircraft said Monday it’s expanding its recently purchased maintenance base at the Duluth Airport.Cirrus Building 2

The company says it will hire an additional 80 engineers over the next three years to support the current team of 300 engineers, scientists and technicians.

The maintenance base is the former AAR and Northwest Airlines facility.

Cirrus says the 189,000-square-foot building on 39 acres will develop into a state-of-the-art “Innovation Center” where engineers will develop the next generation of Cirrus Aircraft.

“The Duluth Innovation Center will feature amenities and flexible workspaces that enhance the working environment as people return to the office. Inspired interior features and design provide optimal collaborative workspace and break from the traditional office and lab environment,” according to a news release.

In the press release, it said the company “will invest heavily” in the project, but did not provide a specific dollar amount.

Renovations will begin this month.

“On August 24, the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) approved the agreement authorizing the sale of the former Northwest Airlines facility with a 60-year ground lease. The agreement releases the DEDA’s ownership of the facility and the ongoing financial burden as the building has been without a tenant since May 2020, resulting in over 200 job cuts due to the pandemic. Moreover, the sale will save the city over $600,000 annually in maintenance, operating, and tax expense. Cirrus Aircraft aims to begin renovations by September 2022,” according to the news release.

Cirrus was founded in 1984.

Below are statements included in Monday’s news release:

“Doubling down with a massive facility such as this underscores our relentless pursuit of continuous innovation that makes owning and operating a Cirrus safe, convenient and easy,” said Zean Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Cirrus Aircraft. “We are a company of big ideas such as putting a parachute on every Cirrus aircraft, designing and building a single engine Jet, introducing Safe Return Autoland, rolling out Cirrus IQ connectivity and offering a 360-degree ecosystem around the customer. This investment solidifies Cirrus Aircraft’s commitment to continuous innovation. We want talent to think of Cirrus Aircraft, Duluth, and now the new Innovation Center as a special place where the latest and greatest general aviation technologies come to life. The Innovation Center is designed to become the epicenter for personal aviation engineering and to attract top talent from around the world.”

“Duluth and Cirrus Aircraft have a long and important history of being great to, and for, one another and the site of the Innovation Center is no different,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. “For Cirrus Aircraft to expand their footprint in their hometown of Duluth means the world to us because it further elevates Duluth throughout the world of aviation. We are thrilled to support innovation while repurposing this asset. We are eager to decrease public liability while exponentially growing the aviation economy, and we are one hundred percent committed to Cirrus Aircraft’s vision as being central to our own vision of economic development within the City of Duluth.”



Categories: Business, Minnesota, News, News – Latest News