04/25/06 — Company will get several incentives

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Company will get several incentives

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 25, 2006 1:51 PM

AAR Manufacturing Inc., a division of AAR Corp., will begin operations soon in Goldsboro after about 10 months of corporate meetings, discussions and negotiations.

Incentives to lure AAR into Wayne County included Lot 18 in ParkEast, the county's industrial and business park. The deal also provides grants for the next five years in the amount of taxes paid for industrial machinery and equipment.

Wayne County Economic Development Commission President Joanna Thompson said AAR is also discounted $1.25 million on the cost of the shell building for choosing Goldsboro and Wayne County. The industry will be providing the community with an investment between $10-11 million, she added.

"Based on the amount of their investment, and the jobs created and the pay scale for those jobs, it more than justifies the incentive," Ms. Thompson said.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners approved the incentive last month before the county could provide the name of the potential industry.

The Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR designs and manufactures a wide range of specialized in-aircraft cargo systems for commercial and government use.

The company, founded in 1951, will continue this operation by teaming with Pfalz Flugzeugwerke GmbH of Speyer, Germany, to provide cargo handling systems and an aerial delivery system for the new Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.

AAR officials were handed the keys to the shell building, located at 500 Gateway Drive in ParkEast, last Friday during a news conference and ground-breaking ceremony.

The 106,300-square-foot shell building was constructed in the county's industrial park by Jackson Builders in 2001. Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said the county still owes about $2.3 million to pay off the cost of the building and is actively paying that debt.

The county borrowed money from North Carolina's Eastern Region, a regional economic development organization, to pay for the construction of the shell building, Smith said. The debt is being paid with funds from the county's license plate fund. The shell building's land was previously purchased by the county, he added.

The company picked Wayne County for its operations out of 52 buildings in 48 states. During the news conference, AAR director of corporate communications Chris Mason said the contract with Airbus is the largest in the company's history.

Vice President of Operations Bob O'Brien said AAR would begin operations by leasing a building on William Street and build a prototype of the cargo system with 15 to 20 employees.

Once the shell building is ready for occupancy in August, O'Brien said the company would begin operations and hire an additional 120 workers.

"We want to show clients the world-class product in this community and at our building," he said.

AAR customers include 13 large commercial airlines, six regional airlines, four cargo carriers, 11 manufacturer and maintenance providers and nine governments.

"We believe the county can acheive things in a big way," Smith said. "We believe and the investment paid off."