Northrop Grumman is mysterious firm behind Space Coast “Project Magellan”

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Northrop Grumman Corp. is the mysterious company behind “Project Magellan,” one of the biggest economic development projects on the Space Coast.

The identity of the company set to move to the complex near Melbourne International Airport was secret for months, but sources close to Florida Today learned that the leading aerospace contractor is the newest tenant — bringing $500 million in capital investments.

In all, Northrop Grumman’s move expects to bring nearly 1,800 new jobs, at an average salary of $100,000 a year. State officials estimate the project will be the largest economic development project in the past five years.

The official announcement should come Wednesday from Gov. Rick Scott’s office, followed by comments by Lynda Weatherman, CEO of the Florida Space Coast Economic Development Commission. Weatherman’s speech outlining the details of Project Magellan will come during the monthly meeting of the Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Project Magellan is the culmination of a yearlong process to bring Northrop Grumman to Melbourne, with a combination of incentives from the state, the city of Melbourne and Brevard County.

Due to the nature of the aerospace design, the will be no public comment about the company’s identity before the official announcement, including statements about any connection between Northrop Grumman’s work and the government, write Dave Berman and Wayne Price of Florida Today.

As part of the arrangement with Space Florida, Project Magellan would be exempt from county, city and school taxes – valued at $9 million a year — which could extend for as long as 50 years.

Nearly $21 million of state money for the project will come from a “Quick Action Closing Fund’ recently approved by the Florida Joint Legislative Budget Commission.

The initial phase of Project Magellan will be the construction of a 216,000-square-foot structure, creating 300 jobs by 2015, followed by construction of a 500,000-square-foot building, adding 1,500 jobs by 2019, only “if the company is successful in obtaining the desired business objectives.”

This is the second major investment by Northrop Grumman in Brevard in a year. Last summer, the aerospace giant began construction of the Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence at the Melbourne airport, bringing 1,000 jobs.

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.