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PLATTSBURGH, NY-Laurentian Aerospace Corp., headquartered in Quebec, plans to build a $64-million aircraft maintenance facility at Plattsburgh International Airport here. The company plans to construct a 262,000-sf hangar that will include updated docking systems at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.The investment includes the purchase of equipment. The first phase of the project is expected to begin this fall and create 760 new jobs within the first five years of operation, state officials state. Gov. George Pataki says the initiative could create up to 1,500 jobs over the next six years at the airport. Company officials add that if market conditions permit, it will invest another $50 million to build a second facility at the site that would create an additional 740 jobs at the site.

“Over the last 11 years, we’ve been committed to making smart investments which have helped to transform the Plattsburgh Air Force Base from a former military installation into an economic engine, spurring private sector investment and creating new jobs and opportunities for the region,” Pataki says.

Laurentian Aerospace president and CEO Paul Gobeil says the airport is “a unique facility that will help us meet our long-term growth objectives in today’s very competitive business environment.”

For the past 11 years, New York State has invested more the $16.8 million to redevelop the base, which was closed in the 1993 round of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The funding has supported site development and construction of more than 217,000 sf of new building space and major improvements and renovations to more than 1.5 million sf of existing buildings, state officials note.

More than 170 buildings have been demolished, to support the base’s on-going development. The county airport is being transferred to the former airbase and construction of the new $10-million Plattsburgh International Airport is under way with terminal facilities expected to be complete by 2007.

State officials say that Laurentian Aerospace is eligible to apply to Empire State Development for a capital grant of up to $6.1 million, which includes $4.1 million for Phase I. The hanger construction project will also receive $3 million in new multi-modal transportation funding. In addition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will provide up to $500,000 to support the project.

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