Boeing another step closer to new N. Chas. research, technology center

Boeing another step closer to new N. Chas. research, technology center
Some Boeing employees are voting Thursday on unionization. (Source: WCSC)

Boeing announced a lease agreement for a 100,000 square foot office and laboratory space in North Charleston on Tuesday.

The new space, to be called the Boeing Research & Technology-South Carolina center will be located in Crosspoint at the Palmetto Commerce Park, according to a release from the airline manufacturer.

"Anytime one of the area's manufacturers or area employers are expanding, it's a really exciting thing," said Charleston Southern University business professor Dr Jim Wilkerson.

Boeing says between 300-400 jobs will be created by the research center. Wilkerson says that will give the Tri County Area another economic shot in the arm.

"They have to buy homes, they have to put kids through college, they have to buy stuff the way people do," he explained.

The facility will add to Boeing South Carolina's North Campus, along with the Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina facilities.

"When these other arms of Boeing are coming, people ought to pay attention," Wilkerson said. "Initially they thought ,great, it's an aircraft assembly plant. It's much more than that."

The center was announced in December and is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2014, Boeing executives say. The facility will focus on advanced manufacturing technology and composite fuselage manufacturing.

"This research center brings our technology organization and Boeing South Carolina closer together to transition technology from research and development to our commercial airplane and defense products faster and more efficiently," Lane Ballard, site leader of the research center and vice president of Materials & Manufacturing Technology, said in a statement.

"We're excited to see our new BR&T center come to fruition in South Carolina," Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager Jack Jones said. "The new facility continues to demonstrate our commitment to the state of South Carolina by bringing new technology and capabilities to North Charleston."

The new facility will bring scientists, technology experts, technicians and engineers together, leading research and development efforts in automation and assembly, systems installation, chemical technology and electromagnetic effects, modeling and characterization, Boeing executives say. It will also include an autoclave, paint booth and clean room lab.

The company's research and technology development activities are conducted at 11 Boeing research centers in Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Russia and the United States, including Alabama, California, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington, officials say.