March 27, 2014 | Vol. 117 -- No. 49

Exotic Metals brings aerospace plant to Airway Heights

Manufacturing company to hire up to 150 employees

Exotic Metals Forming Co. LCC (Exotic), an aerospace company based out of Kent, Wash., announced at a March 21 press conference that it will purchase 56.6 acres of property from Spokane International Airport (SIA), on the south side of McFarland Road at Lawson Street in Airway Heights. The company will build a manufacturing plant and hire up to 150 local employees.

Exotic Metals Forming Co. LCC
The proposed Exotic Metals manufacturing plant to be built on McFarland Road and Lawson Street in Airway Heights.

According to their website, Exotic, formed in 1966, makes and supplies sheet metal for the aerospace industry. The company was named the Boeing "Supplier of the Year" in 2012.

Doug Gimes, vice president and CEO of Exotic said they had spent six years looking around the country for a proper site for their plant. He said Airway Heights had the best selection in terms of location, business mentality and community support.

"When we began to search, that was our primary issue," Gimes said. "(Airway Heights has) infrastructure and a great community."

In a news release, Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing said he was excited for Exotic to "join the city."

"Moving forward on this vision will help make the lives of our residents and businesses more productive and financially viable," Rushing said.

The negotiation process between Exotic, Airway Heights, Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), Spokane County and SIA took 18 months.

The Airway Heights City Council held a special meeting, March 19, where they approved an Economic Development Agreement with Exotic. They also agreed to provide several incentives to help make the building and design process easier for the company. The city will install a new sewer line and pay two-thirds of the cost to extend it to Spokane.

The city of Spokane will allow a line to run through their sewer system after approval from their City Council.

At the meeting, City Manager Albert Tripp said the city would process permits from Exotic within 48 hours of receiving them and provide water to the facility.

"We're waving some fees but it will be a huge investment to the city," Rushing said. "While we spend a few thousand dollars the return will be huge."

Washington state also donated $200,000 to Exotic to help with the design process. A $100,000 state work training grant is available to the company, which can be used for training through Spokane Community College or on-site training.

Officials from the city of Spokane, Spokane County, GSI and the government also attended the press conference to welcome Exotic to the region. Many of these leaders are excited about the economic growth the business could bring to the area.

Walker Construction Inc. and Bernardo Wills Architects will design and build the structure. The plant is expected to be completed in a year and jobs will start in summer 2015.

Al Stover can be reached at al@cheneyfreepress.com.

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