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Laurentian Aerospace Corp
Laurentian Aerospace Corp

Laurentian eyes PARC property

By: DAN HEATH

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Laurentian Aerospace Corporation has secured an option to purchase the former Air Force flight-simulator building at 130 Arizona Ave. 

Speaking at a meeting of the County of Clinton Industrial Development Agency and the County of Clinton Capital Resource Corporation on Monday, Laurentian Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Edwards said the property, owned by Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp., is an ideal fit for temporary offices during the two-year construction phase. 

They had originally planned to lease space there, but that changed when they saw the property was still for sale.

“What we hold now is an option on the building,” he said.

‘IDEAL TRAINING SPACE’

Laurentian has not given up on plans to build a 278,000-square-foot, two-bay hangar for maintenance, repair and overhaul of wide-body jets at Plattsburgh International Airport, a project first announced in 2006.

The double-bay hangar would include computer-operated, laser-guided docking systems that significantly reduce the amount of time to move aircraft into position for work to start. 

The firm predicted it would hire between 200 and 300 workers initially and as many as 900 once the business was up to speed.

The former flight-simulator facility, Edwards said Monday, would provide ideal training space for employees prior to the opening of the hangar. 

Located adjacent to the proposed hangar site, it has a spacious auditorium that would be perfect for training operations.

During construction, Laurentian would bring in employees for training so work could start immediately upon completion of the hangar, Edwards said. 

Plans now call for 70 head-office personnel and 940 hangar-operations staff at full operation.

PRIVATE FINANCING FIRST

The main purpose of Monday’s meeting was to reauthorize the IDA and Capital Resource Corporation to issue tax-exempt airport bonds on behalf of Laurentian, an authorization that needs to be periodically renewed and has been so several times. 

Edwards said they simply want to make sure all of the public approvals are in place before the bond offering becomes a reality, which cannot occur unless Laurentian first secures private equity financing.

“We are not anticipating issuing the bonds in the near future,” he said. “What we can say is the project is not dead, and we are actively working on it.”

The potential bond offering would be up to $200 million. Edwards said he doesn’t expect the company to require that full amount.

He said the Capital Resource Corporation and IDA are merely conduits in the process — the IDA for lease of property to Laurentian and Capital Resource for issuance of the bonds. 

He said there is no risk to the public for repayment of the bonds, as that would be Laurentian’s responsibility.

ONE-YEAR APPROVALS

The first hurdle thrown up as Laurentian tried to obtain financing was as the international financial crisis took hold. 

Then, in 2011, the company announced it had secured financing through Verdant Capital, but those funds never materialized.

The company announced last year it was working with a new financial adviser but has declined to reveal the name of that entity.

A public hearing on the resolutions is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. May 2. The next step would be to ask the Clinton County Legislature to authorize issuance of the bonds.

Those approvals would be valid for one year before they would need to be renewed.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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