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Santa Rosa vying for 10th aviation-related company

Northwest Florida Daily News - 10/9/2019

Oct. 9--MILTON -- An aerospace defense company owned by 20-plus retired U.S. Air Force veterans wants to relocate to the Santa Rosa County Industrial Park East located in East Milton.

The Mobile, Alabama company is interested in the manufacturing facility located at 5552 Industrial Blvd., just 2 miles north of Interstate 10.

Shannon Ogletree, economic development director for Santa Rosa County, said more and more aviation-related companies are attracted to the area.

"Things are looking up," Ogletree said. "We're generating a lot of interest."

The 1.72-acre location includes two buildings for light manufacturing, one 11,194-square-foot building and another 17,050-square-foot building. Fabbro Marine Group, which owns the facility, once designed and built Cape Horn fishing boats there. However, a few years ago it moved to an even bigger building at the industrial park.

Project Z, as it is nicknamed, plans to move by the end of the year. It will become the 10th aviation-related company to operate in Santa Rosa County.

Founded in 2002, it plans to add a handful of jobs, Ogletree said. The small company specializes in the development, design, manufacturing, testing, installation, reconditioning and servicing of munitions support equipment, electronics and aircraft servicing equipment.

Thanks to the Mobile location of Airbus, one of the largest airline builders in the world, in June 2012 many aviation companies have relocated to Northwest Florida. Airbus produces A320 and A220 airliners at its assembly plant at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.

Santa Rosa County has become an attractive location with one of the most active air traffic zones in the world and surrounded by military aviation installations, such as Whiting Field, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field.

Plus, the county plans to lure even more companies in the future by building the 269-acre Whiting Aviation Park by the end of the year. It will provide companies that locate there access to a 6,000-foot runway.

"We will begin marketing that site heavily," Ogletree said.

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(c)2019 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.)

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