By Greg Pallone
MELBOURNE — A commercial jet manufacturer continues its expansion in Melbourne, which will eventually bring 200 high-paying jobs to the Space Coast.
Gov. Rick Scott was on hand as Embraer broke ground Wednesday on its 67,000-square-foot Engineering and Technology Center at the Melbourne International Airport.
The building is a $26 million investment over the next five years, and is part of the Brazilian company’s plan to get its jets closer to potential customers in the United States.
The new facility will house state-of-the-art testing labs and prototypes.
Two hundred jobs will be available with an average salary of $70,000.
Since coming to Melbourne four years ago, company leaders have said they want to take advantage of former, highly skilled shuttle workers.
“One thing I don’t think people realize is we are already the second biggest state for aerospace and aviation,” Scott said. “I like all parts of the state to grow, but this part of the state is doing really well.”
“There’s just that talent pool here that really helps companies like Embraer grow,” said Mark Mikolajczyk from the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
The company said 12 employees have been hired so far, and some are former Kennedy Space Center workers.
The new building is expected to open in mid-2014.
To date, Embraer has invested $50 million in buildings at its Melbourne facility where private aircraft are assembled and delivered to customers.