By Rachel Christian
The first aerospace company to receive recently-approved city financial incentives is set to invest $4.5 million at Kissimmee Gateway Airport in the next two years.
The project plans to add 200,000 square feet of hanger space and 8,000 square feet of office space, making it the single largest and most expensive investment in the airport’s history, according to Gateway Director Terry Lloyd.
Know 2 Solutions, a network solutions provider specializing in satellite communications,
is set to consolidate three locations into one central hub operating from the currently vacant northwest corner of Kissimmee Gateway Airport.
The niche company, which provides networking services and custom engineering to other aero industry businesses, began talks with Kissimmee economic development staff in October.
Know 2 Solutions is the first to receive a set of special financial incentives as part of the Aerospace Advancement Initiative, a measure approved by Kissimmee commissioners in April.
Know 2 Solutions will benefit from $172,000 in waived impact, permit and mobility fees, as well as performance-based incentives if the company hires local and meets established criteria.
The Aerospace Advancement Initiative is a push by local officials to attract companies to the more than 100 acres of unused or underused land at Gateway Airport and spur economic development.
Providing those benefits made Gateway an attractive option for Know 2 Solutions, said Belinda Kirkegard, director of Kissimmee economic development.
“It definitely played a part in their decision-making process, I’m sure,” Kirkegard said. “I know they were looking at a couple different facilities outside of Florida before choosing Gateway.”
All incentives are performance-based, and the $172,000 figure could still go up or down, Kirkegard said.
The company is currently operating in an existing building at the airport with plans to start construction soon. The new facility should be complete in 18 to 24 months, said the airport’s director.
“Know 2 Solutions looks forward to integrating into this community, becoming a successful business, creating job opportunities for citizens of Kissimmee, and becoming a leading aerospace and engineering business in the Central Florida area,” Chief Operations Officer Pat Geddes told city commissioners Tuesday night shortly before financial incentives were approved as a consent agenda item.