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Company postpones Sawyer project

Aeronautics firm pulls $5.6M investment

December 27, 2011
By John Pepin , Marquette Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - A Canadian aeronautics firm that was expected to create nearly 150 jobs at K.I. Sawyer and make a $5.6 million capital investment over five years has decided to indefinitely postpone development of its project.

Marquette County interim administrator Scott Erbisch said the company - which hasn't been named publicly - recently announced the curtailment to county and state officials.

"It was a corporate decision at this time to postpone the project," Erbisch said. "We're glad to have had this opportunity and we hope the project gets revisited in the future."

Erbisch declined to elaborate on reasoning for the postponement, without consent from company officials, who could not be contacted by him.

The company announcement came just ahead of Michigan Strategic Fund Board consideration of a Renaissance Zone tax abatement extension request, which was to be an incentive for the company to relocate to K.I. Sawyer.

The Marquette County and Forsyth Township boards previously approved the extension. State consideration of the request had been set for Wednesday in Lansing.

Recently, the county board also recommended approval of a three-year lease with the firm - with options for expansion and a 5-year extension - for the 26,400 square foot Hangar 663 and an adjacent parking area. Under terms of the lease, the rental rate was to have been $1.75 per square foot for the first year, with a 3 percent increase each year thereafter.

Officials with the Lake Superior Community Partnership said previously the aeronautics company had been vetted by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The company was said to be well-established and have about 700 employees.

The development at K.I. Sawyer would have provided jobs for technical workers with the average weekly salary of $1,200 expected. A total of $2.5 million was scheduled to be invested the first year, with 76 jobs created, beginning in the first quarter of 2013.



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