- File: Oliver Parini
- The Beta facility at BTV
The fast-growing aerospace startup, based at Burlington International Airport, signed a lease this month for up to 155,000 square feet of space, where it will develop and test batteries for its electric aircraft.
Beta has been eyeing the plant for months and already secured up to $557,000 in grant funding through the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive, or VEGI, program, depending on how many jobs the company creates. Beta, with more than 400 employees, expects to employ "hundreds" more at the St. Albans site in the coming years.
A much larger, 40-acre expansion at its airport headquarters is already under way. In a press release announcing the St. Albans lease, Beta CEO Kyle Clark said the site's proximity to South Burlington "is an important part of our plan for integrated operations in this phase of the business." Another benefit: The plant is already outfitted for battery testing, Tim Smith, executive director of the Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation, told Seven Days earlier this year.
The company also has a footprint at the Plattsburgh International Airport, where it conducts flight testing. Officials across the lake said earlier this year that they'd like to see Beta grow in New York.
“I’m very optimistic about BETA’s future, and I think their innovations can change the world. I look forward to Vermont’s continued partnership with them as they grow and create good jobs across the state," he said.
Beta currently assembles and tests its battery packs at its South Burlington headquarters, where its lithium-ion packs have twice caught fire. Beta will move some but not all of that equipment to St. Albans, Goldman said.