Hexcel files building permit for expansion
SEPA application proposes five-phases of building additions in Burlington
By Mark Stayton, August 26, 2014, Go Skagit
High-tech composites manufacturer Hexcel recently applied for a building permit to add a 75,920 square-foot steel building to land the company leases from the Port of Skagit in Burlington.
The building permit is for the first phase of a possible five-phase expansion at the company’s site at 15062 Steele Road.
Hexcel spokesman Michael Bacal said the company’s plant manager and chief financial officer have not decided whether or not to build the new building, and said he was unaware of any deadlines for that decision.
Bacal said the building permit and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review application were completed to give the company options to expand in the future.
“Aerospace is a growing industry with long lead times. We try to plan for the future and what we’re going to do,” Bacal said.
A 60,000 square-foot expansion of Hexcel’s local production facility was completed in March 2013, bringing the total footage to 150,000 square feet.
Hexcel specializes in building lightweight, high-strength fibers, fabrics, composites and engineered products for a variety of industries, including commercial aerospace, space and defense, and alternative energy, according to a company brochure.
One of 18 Hexcel manufacturing plants worldwide, the Burlington facility takes raw building blocks of the company’s lightweight Honeycomb material and cuts and shapes them for specific applications.
It also uses lightweight materials to build finished products such as winglets for business jets, and engine cowlings, said plant manager Jim Collins.
An employment survey released by the port in April showed the company has 204 full-time workers.
The company turned in a SEPA checklist for a proposed five-phase expansion project that could add 314,453 to 338,291 square feet of new facilities in lots east and southeast of Hexcel’s current site.
Within the SEPA checklist turned in May 19 to Skagit County Planning and Development Services, Hexcel anticipated construction on the first phase of the expansion to begin within the year.
Construction of phases two through five would depend on economics. Those phases could potentially come in five-year intervals, according to the application.
County planner Brandon Black said the building permit needs a plan review as well as approvals from Burlington, Skagit Public Utility District and Skagit County Public Works.
Black said he did not know when the permit could be approved.
Commercial aerospace sales for the company were $308.2 million in the second quarter of 2014, a 14.1 percent improvement over the second quarter of 2013, according to a corporate earnings report issued July 22 by Hexcel Corporation.
“We have been having some success in that field. Business is filling up. We’re planning for the future,” Bacal said.
Net sales for the first six months of the year were $931.8 million, up 11 percent over the same time in 2013, and net income was up 9.3 percent over the same time period.
“We continue to deliver strong year-over-year quarterly performance as we build for the future. Based on our customers’ forecasted buildrates, we remain on-track to achieve our mid-term goal of $2.5 billion in sales by the end of 2017,” CEO Nick Stanage said in the corporate earnings report on the company’s website, www.hexcel.com. “Consequently, we continue to support our customers by investing in technology, capacity expansion, manufacturing innovations and our people.”