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Duluth avionics manufacturer gets nod to grow

A parking variance will provide American Precision Avionics a bit of breathing room as it adds staff to boost production.

Vehicles parked on the street outside American Precision Avionics
American Precision Avionics' growing workforce has caused parking to spill out of the company's parking lot and onto the street in Duluth's Airpark industrial park. On-street parking technically isn't allowed on Prosperity Road, and the business obtained a variance Tuesday to allow it to expand its parking area to better accommodate workers.
Peter Passi / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — American Precision Avionics' parking needs should ease soon, thanks to a variance the manufacturer received from the Duluth Planning Commission on Tuesday night.

The company, which is a major supplier of wiring harnesses and other components for Cirrus Aircraft, already employs 87 people, and it is looking to hire another 25 more workers yet this year to meet growing demand. American Precision Avionics has only a 40-stall parking lot — the maximum allowed by code for the size of its nearly 16,000-square-foot facility — and the variance will enable it to add 20 more spots to its property at 3815 Prosperity Road.

American Precision Avionics.jpg
Gary Meader / Duluth News Tribune

Employee vehicles regularly spill onto Prosperity Road due to the shortage of parking in the company lot, and industrial park covenants technically do not allow for on-street parking, as it can impede supply trucks and pose a safety hazard, particularly in the winter, explained Deborah DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Deluca noted the Port Authority has been involved as a development partner at the Airpark since the late 1970s, at the city's request. In a letter of support for American Precision Avionics' variance request, she described the Airpark as "a 300-acre modern light manufacturing industrial park housing nearly 40 private companies with over 900 employees."

The company rises to new heights with continued investment through a 16,000 square-foot expansion, adding 50 high-tech, skilled positions.

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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