Work has started on Boom Supersonic’s North Carolina manufacturing plant, where the Colorado-based startup plans to produce supersonic airliners.

Greenville, S.C.-based BE&K Building Group is the contractor on the plant, with Melbourne, Fla.-based designer BRPH. Boom has said it plans to invest as much as $500 million in the 400,000-sq-ft “superfactory” located at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro. The company did not disclose the price for construction, but a spokesperson said the investment includes buildings and tooling. 

Boom says it selected the Greensboro location because of access to universities, aerospace suppliers and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean for test flights. As ENR previously reported, the state also offered Boom an incentive package potentially worth more than $90 million and budgeted more than $100 million for infrastructure upgrades at and around the airport. 

BE&K is a subsidiary of Lombard, Ill.-based Pernix Group Inc., which ranks No. 249 on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list. Frank Holley, president and CEO of BE&K, said in a statement that the contractor “has delivered disciplined teams of experts providing decades of design and construction expertise to the aviation and aerospace sector.” It has previously worked on projects for clients Boeing, Gulfstream and JetBlue, among others.

Ground broke on the project Jan. 26, according to Boom. The project's first phase is set to include a production hangar facing the south side of Interstate-73, where the company would manufacture the aircraft, according to the airport. The hangar may be supplemented with another, based on demand. 

Boom has a 62-acre site at the airport where it plans to build the final assembly line, test facility and customer delivery center. The company plans to produce its Overture airliner at the plant. According to Boom, the 201-ft-long planes would be able to carry up to 80 passengers at speeds as high as Mach 1.7 at an altitude of 60,000 ft.

United Airlines has ordered 15 Overtures, Boom previously announced, with an option for 35 more, and Japan Airlines has preordered 20. The first aircraft is expected to carry passengers by 2029.

The company plans to begin production next year.