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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 9, 201312:00 PM EST

Northrop Grumman files plans for $80M Hawkeye plant in St. Augustine


Northrop Grumman Corp. filed plans last week for its $80 million Hawkeye manufacturing plant expansion in St. Augustine that is expected to add 400 jobs to the aerospace and defense contractor's Northeast Florida workforce.

Northrop Grumman St. Augustine is an aircraft manufacturing and modifications facility whose current customer is the U.S. Navy. The E2-D Advanced Hawkeye is its anchor program with the Navy.   

The company is the largest private industrial employer in St. Johns County and, as an aviation/aerospace manufacturing, is a star player in the region's targeted industry ranks.

St. Johns County approved an economic development agreement in April that shows Northrop Grumman will make an $80 million capital investment and create jobs paying a minimum average of $44,943, higher than the county's average wage of $35,954.

The company submitted plans Thursday to the St. Johns River Water Management District for reviews of the proposed 330,000-square-foot project planned on 23 acres.

Northrop Grumman operates at 5000 U.S. 1 N. at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport north of St. Augustine.

The economic development agreement, approved by the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, states the company had 959 full-time employees in St. Augustine as of March 1.

The commission approved an incentives package of nearly $3 million for the four-year expansion project.

As of Friday, Northrop Grumman had 1,060 full-time and about 40 contract employees in St. Augustine, according to company spokesman Jacqueline Farrell.

Northrop Grumman plans to construct three manufacturing and office buildings.

The 330,000-square-foot project comprises 300,000 square feet for manufacturing and 30,000 square feet for offices.

Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Va., has operated its "Home of the Hawkeye" St. Augustine operation since 1980.

Product lines include E-2D production; E-2C and F-5 modifications; T-38 wings; EA-18G wing tip pods and gun bay pallets; and the B-2 aft deck

Northrop Grumman says its Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine "provides the foundation for current and future production, sustainment and modification activities."

The project team includes the architect, The Austin Co. of Irvine, Calif.; the civil engineer, Zev Cohen & Associates Inc. of St. Augustine; the landscape architect, Zev Cohen & Associates of Ormond Beach; the surveyor, Bradshaw-Niles & Associates Inc. of St. Augustine; and the geotechnical engineer, Universal Engineering Sciences of Jacksonville.

Northrop Grumman announced in March that it was designating five centers of design and integration excellence in support of its aerospace systems sector's manned aircraft, unmanned systems and electronic attack businesses.

The company designated two Aircraft Integration Centers of Excellence — St. Augustine and Palmdale, Calif.

$400,000 in renovations planned for Shepherd

The Robin Shepherd Group, which sold its Riverside riverfront building for condo development, is preparing to move in mid-October to Riverplace Tower on the Southbank.

It will use temporary space on the 10th floor until its new offices on the 11th floor are renovated by December.

Plans and a building-permit application filed with the city show Dav-Lin Interior Contractors is the construction firm for the $399,908 renovation project of suite 1100.

The permit indicates Dav-Lin will renovate 10,517 square feet of space for Shepherd on the 11th floor of the 28-story tower at 1301 Riverplace Blvd.

Connie Turner Interior Design is the architect.

Plans show individual offices, large and medium conference rooms, and creative, digital and business and account services workstations.

The Shepherd website says its staff of 50 will be expanding from 10,000 square feet of space to 12,600 square feet on Riverplace Tower's 11th floor, although the permit doesn't cover all of that space.

"When I started this company in 1984, we were a couple of artists with a small loft studio space located on Riverside Avenue," founder and CEO Robin Shepherd says on the site.

He said they moved in 1997 to the Bishop Gate Lane address.

Robin Shepherd Studios Inc. and RSPR Inc. sold the 1.3-acre riverfront parcel at 500 Bishop Gate Lane to HP500 LLC, a group comprising partners of the Hallmark Partners development group, for $2.1 million. The deed was signed Aug. 15.

Hallmark Partners announced Aug. 14 that it planned to develop a 16-story condominium at the site, which is off Riverside Avenue near The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

Beacon Riverside is slated for 55 units among 16 stories, including a two-story parking area. Prices will range from $600,000 to $2 million.

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