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BAE plans $39 million facility near Fort Wayne airport

Plans to preserve 1,100 local jobs

FORT WAYNE -- British defense contractor BAE Systems plans a new $39 million manufacturing facility near Fort Wayne International Airport.

Officials from BAE, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission asked the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board for $2.5 million toward an incentive package to keep the company and its 1,100 jobs in Fort Wayne.

The company has been looking for a new location, and there were fears this fall that it was looking at land in Van Wert and Paulding, Ohio.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s Ashley Steenman said the company plans a massive facility at Ardmore Avenue and Airport Expressway, and plans to make $3 million a year in investments in that facility each of the next five years.

BAE Systems spokesman Jeff Benzing would not confirm the location, but said the company’s move within Allen County is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2015.

“BAE Systems is working to finalize a lease agreement with our developer and is concurrently engaging with economic development agencies to keep the project on schedule,” Benzing said.

Greg Leatherman, executive director of the Redevelopment Commission, said officials will be at the commission’s meeting later today to ask for $2 million toward the incentive package. That money will come from the airport Tax Increment Finance district covering the area.

Most of the Capital Improvements Board’s funding comes from county food and beverage tax money left over after Coliseum debt payments are made. The board is expected to accumulate up to $85 million during the next 17 years, with the money earmarked for large, capital projects that attract high-wage jobs.

The Capital Improvements Board currently has about $7.8 million on hand, though not all of that is immediately available.

The board voted unanimously to approve the $2.5 million request.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Tuesday.

dstockman@jg.net

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