Cirrus investing in former AAR building to create Duluth Innovation Center

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Big plans ahead for Cirrus Aircraft. They are investing in the former AAR building, and will turn it into their Duluth Innovation Center. “We could not be more excited,” shared Pat Waddick, President of Innovation and Operations.

It’s where their engineers will develop the next generation of Cirrus aircraft.

The company will be hiring 80 additional engineers over the next three years. They will join the current team of 300 engineers, scientists, and technicians.

“This investment in a world-class facility brings together our engineering, flight test, experimental, advanced design and development, and other key Product Development areas. We are excited about how our investments in facilities, people and programs will lead to changing the world – again!” Waddick added.

Plus, they need more manufacturing space, to keep up with the demand for their current aircraft. So they’ll move the development teams to the Innovation Center, freeing up more room for building and assembling.

Inside the Innovation Center will be amenities and flexible workspaces that will enhance the working environment, and be different from traditional offices and labs.

Renovations are already underway, and Waddick told us they hope to start moving in at the end of the year.

“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.

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. Cirrus purchased the building for $1.

The agreement releases the DEDA’s ownership of the facility, which has been without a tenant since May 2020. Cirrus says the sale will save the city over $600,000 annually in maintenance, operating, and tax expense.

To look at job openings at Cirrus: