Mesa aerospace manufacturer GST Industries plans on abandoning its plant near Falcon Field Airport to relocate to a 10-acre property about two miles east of Williams Gateway Airport.
The new GST facility on Pecos and South Mountain roads is expected to include a 63,000-square-foot campus for manufacturing airplane components, overhauling and rebuilding parts, research and development, and testing.
Construction on the campus could start this summer, said Gary Linscott, field director for the company.
The company’s 20 employees build airport components at the local plant, such as landing gear controls and actuators for the hooks the Air Force’s F-16 Falcon use to land on aircraft carriers.
GST’s current plant is a leased manufacturing facility on McDowell Road near Falcon Field that was meant to be temporary.
“We knew we were going to max it out fairly quickly,” Linscott said. “We wanted to come in and achieve a presence in the East Valley.”
GST Industries, a division of the California-based Dukes Inc., first moved to Mesa in the summer of 2005 from Huntington Beach, Calif.
Dukes Inc., started in 1958 in Northridge, Calif., and counts as its customers aerospace industry stalwarts like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Cessna, Embraer and Piper.
The GST division of the company was relocated to Arizona, in part, because of the more expensive land prices in California.
The economic conditions in the state allow aerospace businesses to grow “in a cost effective manner,” Linscott said.
In expanding its local operations, GST plans to hire local engineers, machinists and lab technicians.
“Right now we have 20 people. We expect to double that when we move over to Williams Gateway,” Linscott said.
The move was a natural fit for the company, Linscott said.
Customers of GST are expected to announce their plans to relocate near Williams Gateway.
Meanwhile, the close proximity to the airport will allow the company to shuttle its California engineers and managers to the plant, Linscott said.
Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker said the city wants companies like GST to help build job centers around the airport.