News Column

Laurentian Aerospace continues administrative efforts

May 7, 2014

By Dan Heath, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.



May 07--PLATTSBURGH -- Little input was offered at a public hearing on re-authorization of tax-exempt bonds for Laurentian Aerospace Corp.

This was the fifth public hearing held by the County of Clinton Industrial Development Agency as part of the process to allow the IDA to serve as the conduit for the sale of up to $200 million in tax-exempt bonds for the roughly $225 million project.

The company has proposed construction of a 278,000-square-foot, two-bay hangar for maintenance, repair and overhaul of wide-body aircraft on the flight line at Plattsburgh International Airport.

TOWN SUPPORT

Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett, one of five people in attendance, reiterated the town's support of the project.

It remains easy to see the huge potential economic impact it would have on the regional economy, he said.

"I would like to make note we have embraced the project from the original announcements."

NECESSARY STEP

Laurentian Aerospace Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Edwards said the hearing doesn't mean they have set a date to make the bond offering.

"We have no specific plans at this point to proceed," he said.

Edwards described the hearing as another step in the process to ensure they can immediately move forward with the bond issuance if and when the necessary equity financing is secured.

The company continues efforts to secure the funding and began working last year with a new, as-yet-undisclosed financial adviser on that process.

"We want to have all of the administrative steps out of the way," Edwards said.

NO LOCAL OBLIGATION

The IDA would be responsible for lease of a 68-acre parcel on the flight line, while the County of Clinton Capital Resource Corp. would be responsible for the bond issuance.

IDA Executive Director Erin Hynes once again said issuance of the bonds by the agency doesn't put the state, county or taxpayers under any obligation to make good on them. That is the sole obligation of Laurentian Aerospace, she said.

BUILDING PURCHASE

Laurentian Aerospace has also entered into a purchase agreement for the flight-simulator building at 130 Arizona Ave., which would be used for temporary offices during construction of the hangar, which would take about two years.

Plans now call for 70 head-office personnel and 940 hangar-operation staff at full operation. The Arizona Avenue space would provide an ideal facility for training during the ramp-up to operation, Edwards has said previously.

Laurentian Aerospace announced the project in 2006. Progress stalled when the global financial crisis arrived in 2007-08.

Laurentian Aerospace officials announced they had secured financing in 2011 through Verdant Capital, but that funding never materialized.

NEXT STEPS

At its next meeting, the IDA Board of Directors is expected to authorize the issuance of the bonds at Laurentian's future request.

Then, similar approval is needed from the Clinton County Legislature.

Those approvals are good for up to one year, Hynes said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

___

(c)2014 the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.)

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Source: Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, NY)


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