10/07/09 — AAR announces plans for expansion, to receive land deal

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AAR announces plans for expansion, to receive land deal

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 7, 2009 1:46 PM

A $900,000 expansion project at AAR was announced Tuesday morning following a closed session held by Wayne County commissioners.

The closed-door session with Development Alliance President Joanna Helms was to discuss the expansion and conveyance of five acres of county-owned property to the company that manufactures parts for the aviation industry.

The board set a public hearing on the land deal for Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 9:15 a.m.

The additional acreage is needed for parking lot expansion and reconfiguration due to current congestion at shift changes. The county-owned five-acre plot is an "L" shaped parcel on the west and south sides of AAR's current site at ParkEast.

The company plans a 10,000-square-foot expansion and will add five new positions. Up to 25 more positions could be added in the near future.

The company also will put best-management practices in place to handle nitrogen runoff, County Manager Lee Smith said.

"(Giving the land) is based on tax base, jobs, and they are asking for five acres," he said. "The thing we are really basing it on is the 10,000-square-foot expansion as part of their manufacturing. There will be some jobs because of that, but we are basing it more the 10,000 square feet and some of the things that they have done up and above what they have said they were going to do in the past.

"Nitrogen runoff is a real pain for a facility like that. They have honored their commitments up to now. On the expansion there are over 200,000 square feet and we thought they were going to be 160,000 and we are already at 200,000 plus this additional 10,000. So we think it is well-justified in (giving) these five acres."

Smith said that the payoff to the county in terms of taxes coming back to it, just on the expansion, would be five to six years.

"We are pleased that we have a company that is expanding and growing, even during tough economic times," commission Chairman Bud Gray said. "AAR is an asset to our community."

In addition, AAR hopes to continue to grow. The company is considering further building expansion and future job creation at ParkEast.

"While there are no other specifics for AAR's future at ParkEast that we can discuss at this time, it's a good sign that they are in need of more acreage to protect long term growth potential," Mrs. Helms said. "AAR is an important part of the aviation/aerospace cluster that we are developing in Eastern North Carolina."