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Published: Tuesday, 9/27/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Port authority gets $2.8M to renovate airport hub

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has received a $2.8 million loan from the state to prepare BAX Global's former hub at Toledo Express Airport for future tenants.

The project was one of two in northwest Ohio to receive state incentives Monday. North American Science Associates Inc. received a Job Creation Tax Credit worth $800,000 to add 20 employees to its headquarters in Northwood.

At the airport, the 280,000-square-foot hub complex, which is owned by the port authority, was vacated Sept. 1 by the air freight firm. The funding was approved Monday by the state's Development Financing Advisory Council.

Port President Paul Toth said the state originally approved the loan in 2009 to assist BAX with improving the facility. But the port authority asked to have the funds reallocated after BAX's departure. The loan will be used to add trucking docks and other improvements to the facility, which is being marketed to other air-freight and trucking carriers.

"The facility was designed strictly for air-to-air sorting," Mr. Toth said. "One of the challenges we have marketing it is that it doesn't have ability for truck operations."

The $3.7 million improvement project is expected to start once the port authority finds a tenant for the complex, Mr. Toth said, and could be completed within four to six months from that date.

The improvements are expected to result in 100 full-time and 400 part-time jobs, according to state officials.

Meanwhile, North American Science Associates, which provides testing for medical devices and health-care products, received a 60 percent, seven-year tax credit.

Chief Financial Officer Jane Kervin said the company plans to spend $7.5 million to add 20,000 square feet of laboratory space to its 120,000- square-foot facility as well as buy machinery and equipment. The local firm has about 500 employees worldwide, including about 230 in Northwood.

The company also is planning to expand in France and China, according to the state. Ms. Kervin said northwest Ohio was one of four global sites that the company considered for the new lab space.

"This allowed the Toledo site to be the more competitive one," she said.

State officials say the new jobs will pay an average wage of $20 a hour.



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