Site Selection magazine named the Rolls-Royce announcement as one of North America’s top 10 economic development deals of 2007.
To lure the Rolls-Royce investment, the state provided an incentives package worth $56.8 million, most of it linked to employment and investment targets that the company would have to meet over 16 years. The incentives package announced at the time included a $35 million performance grant, to be paid in installments from 2014 to 2023.
Rolls-Royce initially said the plant would test and assemble components for mid-sized corporate jets.
By October 2008, however, the Great Recession sparked by the housing market downturn and the mortgage crisis forced Rolls-Royce to shift its priorities. The company said the market for corporate jets had been hurt by the downturn, and it would instead focus on making components for commercial aviation engines such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787.
The factory didn’t open until early 2011 with a 180,000-square-foot rotatives plant that made components for turbofan engines in aircraft.
Rolls-Royce subsequently proceeded with one other expansion of the plant, an advanced airfoil machining facility, which started producing turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes in 2014.
In March 2012, the Rolls-Royce factory was host to a major public event for then-President Barack Obama, who toured the plant and spoke there to a large crowd of employees, visitors and media representatives, proposing a $1 billion national network of research centers to foster manufacturing competitiveness in the United States.