Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport breaks ground on huge facility

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Bruce Haffner

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 8 at 12:47 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- It’s a wide-open space right now, but when construction is complete, Able Engineering's new aircraft facility will be the largest at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Able Engineering broke ground Wednesday morning on an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility it is leasing from the City of Mesa and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority.

Bruce Haffner flew over the site in the Fort McDowell Casino news chopper. The artist rendering above shows how the facility will look when it's complete.

Operating the new MRO facility will eventually make Able Engineering the largest private employer in the Gateway area.

“Able Engineering is a perfect fit for the Gateway area and represents the aerospace pillar in Mesa’s HEAT (health care, education, aerospace, tourism/technology) Initiative for economic development,” Mayor Scott Smith said in a news release. “They will bring hundreds of high-tech jobs into an area that is becoming well known for aerospace research, design and defense.”

At about 191,000 square feet, the MRO will be the largest facility at the airport. In addition to attracted commercial, cargo, general and business aviation companies, the new MRO will allow the city and the airport to court military defense contractors.

“The construction of this facility will help grow Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and increase its prestige on a national level by partnering with a company that has the kind of reputation that Able has earned,” Mesa Vice Mayor and District 6 Councilmember Scott Somers said.

The fly-in facility is slated to open in 2013. Within 12 months of occupancy, Able Engineering will employ more than 320 people with a goal of doubling that by 2015.

Founded in 1982 and based in Phoenix, Able Engineering is an international business and $40 million aerospace enterprise that is currently performing more than 8,000 proprietary FAA approved repairs on aircraft.

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