United buys land near Denver International Airport for $33 million

United Airlines put plans in the works this week to expand its ability to train pilots by purchasing land near Denver International Airport for $33 million.

The two parcels of agricultural land, a total of 113 acres, are undeveloped. The parcel at 17671 E. 64th Ave. in Denver would be used for the expansion project.

“This property gives us a lot of options,” said spokesperson Russell Carlton in a statement on Friday. “We’ve already begun work on plans to use part of this land as the site for the expansion of our world-class Denver pilot training facility and we’ll evaluate additional opportunities in the future as our United Next plan unfolds.”

The expansion of the training capabilities is expected to create 240 jobs –  flight instructors, simulation technicians and engineers – with an average annual salary of $186,500, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“It will serve as an exceptional pipeline for our region’s talent and a catalyst for growth within the already-thriving aviation industry in Colorado,” said Raymond Gonzales, Metro Denver EDC president. “Over the past five years, we’ve seen employment in Colorado’s aviation industry increase by almost 18%.”

United is also lined up to receive up to about $3.8 million in performance-based job growth incentive tax credits over eight years from the Colorado Economic Development Commission.

The existing flight training center is on a 23-acre campus at 7500 E. 35th Ave. in Denver, and is considered the world’s largest, with seven buildings. The recent purchase of land provided by L.C. Fulenwider Inc., gives United plenty of room to grow, as the center currently hosts 42 simulators, but has capacity for 52.

United, which has serviced Denver since 1937, is considered the area’s largest employer, with around 10,000 working for the airline.

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