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NEWARK-Air Pegasus Helicopters has unveiled plans for a $10-million heliport complex for a five-acre site along the Passaic River at Grafton Avenue here. The Newark Housing Authority has agreed to sell the site to the Roseland-based Air Pegasus for a reported $2.6 million. The largely vacant property had been targeted for 75 units of low-income housing, a project that never materialized.

The site is adjacent to three acres that will house a new Police Department precinct, and one of the complex’s key tenants will be that department’s new aviation unit, which currently has its helicopters stationed at Morristown Municipal Airport. And besides its own helicopters, Air Pegasus will also be the landlord for other public and private helicopter operators, including corporate. Air Pegasus’ main helicopter base is currently at W. 30th Street and the Hudson River in New York City.

“This is an important project to bolster Newark’s plan to increase public safety and to help reinvigorate economic development in this community,” says Steven Trenk, Air Pegasus’ managing director. “We’re able to take the lead in a project that I know is right for the community.”

Besides helipads, the proposed complex would include hangaring and maintenance facilities, space for maintenance personnel and parts storage, pilot briefing areas, office space, locker rooms, conference and training areas and other facilities. Financing would be a combination of private funding from the Trenk family, along with institutional financing and governmental sources, according to Trenk.

The project still requires approves from this city’s planning and land use boards; the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, because of the site’s earlier designation for housing; and the FAA. Pending those approvals, Air Pegasus hopes to have the facility up and running during the second half of 2009.

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