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Boeing breaks ground on new St. Louis plant

ST. LOUIS — Boeing’s latest venture in St. Louis opens up new possibilities for the region, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and a Boeing vice president said Tuesday.

Politicians and civic leaders joined Boeing officials for a groundbreaking for the plant that will make parts for Boeing’s new 777X passenger aircraft. The 777X itself will be manufactured in the Seattle area. Still, the parts facility will bring 700 permanent jobs to St. Louis and create 250 construction jobs.

The awarding of the plant was announced in October. The facility should be complete in 2016, with production beginning in 2017.

Chicago-based Boeing already employs 15,000 in St. Louis. The company’s military aircraft have long been built in St. Louis, but this will mark the first time the company has made commercial jets in Missouri.

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Nixon said the plant will help Missouri compete for additional projects in the future “and yield economic benefits for this region for many years to come.”

Bob Ciesla, a Boeing vice president, said the new facility “enables us to bridge to the future as a site with both commercial and defense capabilities.”

More than 20 states sought the 777X manufacturing plant. Nixon summoned lawmakers to Jefferson City for a special session late last year that resulted in a state and local tax incentive package worth more than $3 billion. Missouri was a finalist before losing out to Seattle.

Boeing will receive performance-based state incentives for the parts plant. The amount will depend on the actual number of jobs created and the amount of Boeing’s capital investment, Nixon’s office has said.