Project Ranger: $650 million and 800 new jobs

Early plans for Project Ranger | Plans courtesy of WGLA Engineering

Buncombe County officials have announced that aerospace company Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp., is behind the mysterious development known as Project Ranger, a one million-square-foot site that includes a brand new bridge across the French Broad River near I-26. 

The company will invest over $650 million and create 800+ jobs at their new manufacturing facility through 2027. That’s a big deal – it’s the single largest job creation project in the county’s history.

Here are the details –

  • Pratt & Whitney specializes in the design, manufacture + service of aircraft and helicopter engines and auxiliary power units. Its parent company, Raytheon, provides advanced systems and services for clients in commercial, military and government sectors across the world.
  • The 1 million-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility will be built on 100 acres in south Buncombe County developed by Biltmore Farms. It’s part of Biltmore Farms’ 1,000-acre master plan development for the area, known as Biltmore Park West.
  • Access to the facility will be via a new five-lane bridge that will cross the French Broad River and connect to NC Hwy 191. The Golden LEAF Foundation, an economic development group, awarded $12 million in funding for the bridge’s construction to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Community Betterment Foundation.  
  • Hiring will start in late 2021, and jobs will pay an average of $68,000 – about 60% higher than the current average wage in Buncombe County. Jobs will be in areas like engineering, technology, production + management.
  • That should translate into about $54 million in annual new labor income for Buncombe County + the Asheville Metro Region.