February 23, 2024
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Two aerospace firms fly into Thousand Oaks

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Frontier Aerospace’s new Thousand Oaks facility. (Mike Harris / PCBT Staff)

Two aerospace companies are opening new research and development facilities in Thousand Oaks.

HRL Laboratories, based in Malibu, is expected to move into its new campus, a 120,000-square-foot building at 3500 Willow Lane, perhaps starting at the end of the year, Haider Alawami, Thousand Oaks’ economic development manager, told the Business Times Sept. 21. 

The two-story building, which HRL bought for about $40 million, is in an industrial zone, he said. 

HRL, which develops technologies for aerospace, automotive, and defense applications, has other campuses in Calabasas and Camarillo, Alawami said.

Similarly, Frontier Aerospace is relocating to Thousand Oaks from Simi Valley in an expansion move, Alawami said.

Frontier, which provides propulsion technologies, from concept through product development and qualification, is leasing a portion of an 86,800-square-foot one-story building at 851 Lawrence Dr., also in an industrial zone, Alawami said. 

Frontier’s portion is about 20,000 square feet, he said.

The building Frontier shared with other tenants in Simi Valley in the Tapo Canyon Business Park was 11,162 square feet, making the move to Thousand Oaks a major expansion for the company.

Frontier spokesperson Nancy Stoehr-Campbell said the company’s relocation to Thousand Oaks comes after receiving a $10 million Series A funding round from AEI HorizonX. The funding was announced in March.

“The funding is being used to accelerate Frontier’s engine development activities and supported a major expansion of its manufacturing and vacuum test facilities to Thousand Oaks,” she said in a Sept. 26 statement to the Business Times.

“The new modern test facility is supporting an increase in major development programs and will accommodate an increase to our highly skilled employee population,” she said.

Frontier, founded in 2014, currently has more than 50 employees, plus a small team that supports test operations in Victorville, Calif., she said.

HRL, established in 1960 and owned by General Motors and Boeing, declined to comment. 

It has about 830 employees, according to its LinkedIn page. 

Thousand Oaks City Manager Drew Powers said Frontier and HRL are welcome additions to the city and its business community.

“These exciting aerospace investments, alongside numerous life sciences ventures, further solidify the Conejo Valley’s place as a hub of innovation,” Powers said in a statement.

Thousand Oaks is located within the larger Conejo Valley.

“A strong local economy requires industry diversification and we’re thrilled to welcome these companies to Thousand Oaks,” Powers said.

Alawami said standard permits for Frontier’s new offices such as mechanical, plumbing and electrical have been finalized and some staff has moved in.

But special permits for “clean rooms,” which are controlled environments that filter pollutants to furnish the cleanest area possible for research and development, have not yet been finalized.

Alawami said he expects Frontier to take occupancy either at the end of the year or early next year once the clean room permits are finalized by the city.

The building houses two other tenants, both storage warehouse facilities, Alawami said.

HRL plans to convert its building into offices and laboratories for research and development, Alawami said. 

The company is going to convert the vacant second floor of the building first and take occupancy perhaps by the end of the year, he said.

HRL is expected to convert the first story next year after the current occupant, Easton, which manufactures baseball and softball equipment, moves out, Alawami said.

HRL and the city are finalizing standard permits for the project, he said.

In announcing the $10 million in a Series A funding round in March, Frontier’s vice president of In-Space Propulsion Programs, Andy Ferng, told the Business Times that the funds will “fuel our continued growth to better serve our ever-expanding list of customers, including NASA, Astrobotic, and several traditional Aerospace Primes that I will have to keep under wraps for now.”

email: mharris@pacbiztimes.com