Boeing increases its local footprint

Boeing bill presentation began with thanking Boeing South workers. (Ava Wilhite/WCIV)

By Stefanie

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - It's the second act for the aerospace giant company,{}Boeing, here in the Lowcountry.

"The Dreamliner is the future of aviation industry and this is the home of the Dreamliner in Charleston," state Rep. Chip Limehouse said.

The bright future gets off the ground with the governor's signature Friday in a ceremonial signing of the Boeing Incentives Bill. The price tag for the incentives package is $120 million.

Reports show the incentives cover upfront expansion costs, like utilities, and site preparation at Boeing's manufacturing complex that now employs about 6,000 workers.

"I think it ensures a permanency here for Boeing," Limehouse said.

Boeing says with the incentives the company will create 2,000 new jobs and pump an additional $1 billion into South Carolina over the next eight years.

"Eighty percent of the people who are going to benefit from the expansion of Boeing are never going to work at Boeing, but in other industries," Limehouse said. "When the economy here in Charleston surges it floats all boats, big boats and little boats, in this incoming tide of Boeing."

It's a tide that's seen some turbulent waters lately. Earlier this year, Boeing's global 787 fleet was grounded due to a growing threat of the plane's lithium ion batteries catching fire.

"I think the ones in Charleston are flying better. We don't seem to have the battery problems with the batteries here in Charleston," Limehouse said.

The incentives bill also coincides with Boeing's recent land purchase from the Charleston Aviation Authority for hundreds of acres of land in North Charleston.

The company is set to more than double it's footprint in the Lowcountry with the expansion.

"It's going to bring business opportunities here whether you are in the insurance business, you're in the car business, you're in the real estate business, or whether you sell popsicles - it's going to bring a business opportunity here," Limehouse said.

Gov. Nikki Haley will hold a ceremonial signing of the Boeing Incentives Bill with local and state leaders at the Boeing plant at noon on Friday. She actually already signed the $120 million incentives package into law last month.