Taking off: Cirrus Aircraft seeks state money to expand in Duluth


One of the most successful businesses in Duluth is looking to expand its operations there, and is asking the state for some funding to help pay for it.

Cirrus Aircraft officials announced Friday the company wants to build a new $10 million production facility near the Duluth airport, which would house the final stages of the aircraft manufacturing process, the Northland News Center reports.

The City of Duluth has pledged $6 million in tax incentives and lease payments that Cirrus would pay for use of the 60,000-sq.-ft. building. Mayor Don Ness said he's asking state lawmakers for the additional $4 million.

Cirrus CEO Dale Klapmeier said the expansion plans are being driven by the company's new aircraft, the Vision jet, which is starting production soon. More than 500 advance orders are already in for the $2 million plane.

"We expect to see customer deliveries within the next year, and then the growth path to meet those demands is what determines that timeline for the building," said Klapmeier Friday, according to the News Center.

Ness compared the request to the Legislature's $585 million support of the Destination Medical Center in Rochester, a multi-billion dollar project to support the expansion of the Mayo Clinic there.

"Just as [the state] stepped up for Rochester and Mayo to facilitate that project, we need the state to help Duluth, to fulfill our tremendous potential in aviation," Ness said, according to MPR News.

Klapmeier said Cirrus has created more than 300 new jobs in the past three years, and expects to add about the same number in the next three, if the expansion moves forward. Cirrus has about 600 employees right now.

Both Klapmeier and Ness say it's important to get started on the expansion this year, which is why they're asking the Legislature to approve the funding during the current session.

If that happens, the new facility could be ready in the summer of 2016, WDIO reports, adding that the company and the mayor both said there are no other options if the state doesn't pitch in.

Next Up

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.


Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.


Charges: Bar owner, employee served underage drinkers during shutdown

The bar hosted 20-30 people on Dec. 4, 2020, charges say.

police lights

Driver wearing bulletproof vest strikes pedestrian in Rochester

The 21-year-old claimed the vest keeps him warm, according to police.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.08.05 PM

6 men charged in connection to 'disturbing trend' of carjackings, shootings

The men are accused of three carjackings in one day, as well as other crimes.


Cirrus Aircraft adding new jobs in Grand Forks

Duluth-based Cirrus plans to bring up to 60 jobs at its Grand Forks, N.D., plant as it partners with a company that makes a new type of small "sport" plane. The Grand Forks Herald report Cirrus is taking over manufacturing for a large portion of the Icon A5 -- a plane that can take off and land on water.