Francisco Estrada, regional director of Mexico City-basedCorporacion Inmobiliaria Vesta, which is developing AIC in jointventure with Intramerica, a subsidiary of GE Real Estate, says thedeveloper is negotiating with several other companies to locate inthe complex. He expects eight or nine additional tenants to havesigned for space by the end of next year. The 173-acre AIC, whichis situated within Querétaro International Airport, is being builton land donated by the State of Querétaro. The state has also setaside funds to pay for construction of new roads and water andpower lines to serve the site. At completion about 30 manufacturingtenants are projected to occupy the development's 2.4 million sf ofspace.

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The Bombardier plant, which can be expanded to one million sf,is the second major aerospace facility to open in the city sincefall. France's Messier Services Américas dedicated a 100,000-sfbuilding in October that it uses to perform maintenance and repairsfor Bombardier, De Havilland, Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Inaddition, Spain's Aernnova Aerospace has announced plans to build a$134 million, 215,000-sf factory in Parque Industrial Queretaro, a1.2 million-acre complex where the Aeroquip Group of Cleveland'sEaton Corp. has had an airplane parts plant since 1999.

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According to he US Department of Commerce, last year Mexico wasthe 10th largest supplier for the US aerospace industry. TheMexican government has made expansion of the industry a primaryeconomic goal, with the aim of becoming one of the top five USsuppliers over the next decade. But the country is marketing itselfto European and Asian manufacturers as well. The nation'svice-minister for international trade recently escorted acontingent of 29 Japanese aerospace executives

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Querétaro is not the only market attempting to transform itselfinto the nation's premier aerospace center. The states of Chihuahuaand Nuevo Leon have also targeted the sector, and in FebruarySaltillo, the capital of the State of Coahuila, made a bid to jointhe club by inviting 30 companies that attended Air Show Singapore2008 to tour the city. Five accepted the invitation and will visitin coming months.

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But all the above areas trail far behind Baja California, whichboasts Mexico's largest cluster of aerospace companies. Of thenation's 124 aerospace firms, 42 are in Baja, including 20 inTijuana, 15 in Mexicali, four in Tecate and three in Ensenada.Combined they provide more than 12,500 jobs. Last month, GKNAerospace, which previously operated a 42,000-sf facility inMexicali, moved to a 150,000-sf it purchased last year in the samecity. The company expects to invest $12 million in the plant thisyear and $50 million in the next five years.

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"Mexico's aerospace sector will grow significantly in the nextfew years," says Gabriel Cerdio, director of business developmentfor Intramerica, who tells GlobeSt.com that participating withVesta in the development of an aerospace cluster is a logicalaction for his company. "The dynamism it will provide both thelocal and national industrial market will be repaid many timesover."

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