Locally based NetJets plans to expand its current 192,554-sffacility here by 415,000 sf in a $73 million project, while sistercompany FlightSafety International, also owned by Warren Buffett'sOmaha-based firm, will build a new 100,000-sf facility next to theNetJets headquarters on Bridgeway Avenue, close to the PortColumbus International Airport, for $122.5 million.

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In total, when combined with the city, county and ColumbusRegional Airport Authority, incentives offered to the two firms inworkforce development job credits, tax abatements, siteimprovements loans and marketing comes to almost $100 million.

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The Ohio Tax Credit Authority recently granted a 75% credit for15 years to FlightSafety, with a value of $2.4 million over theterm, as long as the company remains on the site for 30 years. Theflight training company will build its new facility with most ofthe cost going toward new simulators, says a company spokeswoman.Once completed, the company's property will be the largest flighttraining facility in the world, claims the firm. "By co-locating inColumbus, there will be greater synergy when we have our pilotstrain in a centralized flight academy adjacent to our operationscenter," the spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com.

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Next door, NetJets also gained a 75% credit for 15 years toexpand its HQ, with an estimated value of $24 million, also withthe requirement that the firm stay for 30 years. The companyexpects to create 735 new positions and retain almost 2,000 jobswithin the first three years of the project's initialoperations.

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The companies plan to grow the campus from 19 acres now to morethan 120 acres. The spokeswoman says Berkshire needed to ensurethat there was sufficient acreage to accommodate the expansion, andeventually chose to remain in Columbus over sites in NorthCarolina, Texas and Florida. "There is a strong commitment on thepart of the state and the city to grow the business aviationcluster," she says. "We believe we can be part of something big tohelp grow the state and local economies. We are staying andexpanding in Columbus largely because of our NetJets employeesalready based here." The company is also partnering with Ohio StateUniversity, Ohio University and Columbus State Community College inflight training classes.

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Both companies are still in the planning stages for the newfacilities, and an exact start date is not known, the spokeswomansays. She also would not divulge if the company is going to own thebuildings, or lease. "We're still evaluating our options," shesays.

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