GKN Aerospace closes, 60 people without jobs

GKN Aerospace has closed in Bay County. (WJHG/WECP)

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - GKN Aerospace has closed its doors in Bay County.

The business was supposed to bring 170 new jobs to our area, but Tuesday it left 60 people without jobs.

Bay County Economic Development Alliance President Becca Hardin confirmed the business' shut down to us saying they were deeply disappointed with the news.

We reached out to GKN about the closure. Wesley Bates, who is a spokesperson for the business, sent us this statement:
"Over the past few months we have been in discussion to agree the long-term manufacturing location of a major work package in the US. Following these commercial discussions we have agreed that this work package will remain at its current GKN Aerospace facility, rather than moving to our Florida site as we had planned. We are unable to give further details, however without this work package, there is no realistic opportunity to sustain our Panama City site.

"We would like to thank our employees for their outstanding commitment and make clear that this unfortunate outcome is in no way a reflection on their efforts, which have been exemplary throughout We will now begin a carefully managed wind-down of the facility over the coming months and we will work closely will our employees and all relevant stakeholders to ensure the process is done in the most appropriate way."

In 2017, the St. Joe Company and the Bay EDA announced GKN was coming to Bay County. This site was to be a new manufacturing facility. It was an estimated $50 million investment. The local site was built near Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. It was expected to bring in 170 new jobs with an average salary of $63,000.

Bay County Commissioner approved an incentive agreement with GKN in February 2017. The incentive would have been given to the company after it met certain requirements, such as beginning construction and bringing 170 jobs to Bay County by 2020. The company would have been refunded about $750,000 in taxes for meeting the requirements.

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