Orange County Partnership - News

Orange County gets $140M aerospace plant

TOWN OF WALLKILL — Aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney will invest $140 million to transform an existing building on Tower Drive into a turbine-coating plant that will employ 100 people.

The company will start outfitting the building with high-tech manufacturing equipment this year, and begin operation between late 2014 and mid-2015, according to a spokesman.

Pratt & Whitney's new plant builds on a growing aerospace industry in the Town of Wallkill, Supervisor Dan Depew said at a news conference Monday evening.

The company already has a joint venture with Chromalloy called Advanced Coating Technologies, located just off Tower Drive.

One of Pratt & Whitney's suppliers, Meyer Tool, is within walking distance, and Chromalloy is also located on Tower Drive.

Including the 100 new workers at Pratt & Whitney's planned plant, the Town of Wallkill is home to several hundred aerospace employees, Depew said.

The new project will help retain 95 of them working at Advanced Coating Technologies.

The town Planning Board will discuss the project at its meeting Wednesday night.

Pratt & Whitney's proposed work on the building includes an approximately 6,000-square-foot addition.

New York competed with Connecticut, Maine and Pennsylvania to win the project. All three states already have Pratt & Whitney operations, but New York state incentives gave Orange County an edge, Depew said.

Empire State Development, the state's economic development agency, has offered the company a $900,000 capital grant, up to $1.6 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits and other incentives.

The company may also apply for tax breaks from the Orange County Industrial Development Agency.

"This is a great shot in the arm," said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, adding that the county had two other major economic announcements it would make by the end of the month.

"Project X" had been in the works for about two years, said Orange County Partnership President and CEO Maureen Halahan, who also helped land it.

News of the project initially broke in June, when it appeared briefly on an IDA meeting agenda.

The Frassetto Cos., a New Jersey real estate firm, owns the building that the new Pratt & Whitney project targets.

Frassetto also owns other property in the town's expanding aerospace corridor along Tower Drive, possibly accommodating future growth in the industry, Depew said.