The City of Duluth Economic Development Branch essentially gave Cirrus Aircraft a massive 189,000 square foot aircraft maintenance hangar at the local airport in exchange for creating jobs at its expanding campus there. . According to Duluth Newsstand, the former Northwest Airlines/Delta Airlines maintenance depot is owned by the Duluth Economic Development Authority and when Delta left town in 2005 it languished largely empty until an MRO named AAR took it over. 2012. AAR closed in 2020 and the city was left with a large complex building to maintain at a cost of $57,000 per month. Last week, he reached an agreement with Cirrus to sell the $10 million building for $1 and to transfer the prepaid lease of the 39 acres surrounding it to Cirrus.
The building has a major connection to Cirrus. After Delta left, the company leased part of the cavernous structure to build the prototype Cirrus VisionJet. Today, Cirrus, now owned by a Chinese company, can hardly keep up with orders for the jet and its SR22 and SR20 piston planes. Cirrus is Duluth’s largest employer and the deal ensures it will retain that title. The company must hire at least 80 additional employees in Duluth earning at least $36.05 an hour on top of the 1,206 already working there.