Saab to invest $37 million to build West Lafayette aerospace plant

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks before a crowd of more than 200 people during an event to announce that Sweden-based Saab Global Defense and Security Company is opening a $37 million facility in the Purdue University-affiliated Discovery Park District in West Lafayette, Indiana. Saab will conduct its contribution to the production of the U.S. Air Force’s T-X pilot training program and other aerospace projects at the site. (John Underwood/Purdue University)

Saab will invest $37 million to build a manufacturing plant in West Lafayette, near Purdue University.

The Swedish-headquartered company will employ as many as 300 people to make fuselages for the Boeing T-X, the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation jet trainer, company and state leaders including Gov. Eric Holcomb said on May 8 at Purdue Airport.

This project would be the second manufacturer – and the sixth project overall – announced for Purdue’s Discovery Park District, a $1 billion plan to create what Purdue president Mitch Daniels has described as “live-work-play” concept over the next 30 years just west of campus. Daniels has hoped to capitalize on Purdue’s strength aerospace engineering research and its airport — one of the few attached to a university — to recruit businesses to West Lafayette, The Journal & Courier reported.

The new structure will be in the  Discovery Park District’s 176-acre aerospace portion

“I think I’m on safe ground, literally every state I can think of would have loved to have this plant,” Daniels said. “I’d like to think Purdue was a tie-breaker. The possibility for laying on top of a first-rate manufacturing facility a research partnership that may wind up in areas very far removed from the immediate purpose of this plant, in our many conversations, the company indicated that that gave us a dimension that many other contestants didn’t have.

“Now, it’s our job to come through.”

Saab says construction is  expected to begin in 2020,

The Indiana Economic Development Corp (IEDC). will offer Saab as much as to $3.9 million in tax credits and up to $1.15 million in training grants, conditional on the company coming through on its promise of jobs, according to Purdue.

Other local tax abatements and incentives – some of which were still in the works as of Wednesday morning – have been offered by West Lafayette, Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Greater Lafayette Commerce and the Purdue Research Foundation.

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