BAE Adds 15 jobs

By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer

BAE Systems is growing again in Griffiss business park.

The company is planning to lease space in the recently expanded Griffiss Institute building so it will have room to add 15 jobs over the next three years BAE wants to move into the second floor of the new wing by May 1. Currently, BAE Systems has about 135 employees working in three buildings — known as the Northeast Engineering Development Center — in the Technology Heights district at Griffiss. The software engineers, on average, make around $80,000. BAE began in the business park with six employees in 1997.

Once the 12,500 square feet has been fitted-out for the company, the approximately 30 employees already working in the old section of the Griffiss Institute building will move into the new area. BAE expects to spend $1 million to furnish, equip and fit-out the space.

The landlord is Griffiss Local Development Corp.

“BAE has grown its presence at Griffiss from being a small tenant with a handful of employees to a major employer and anchor tenant,” said Steven J. DiMeo, president of Mohawk Valley EDGE, which provides staffing for GLDC. “BAE’s continued growth is a testament to the productivity and effectiveness of the workforce it has been able to recruit here. We look forward to BAE’s continued long-term success at Griffiss Park.”

Local BAE officials could not be reached this morning for comments on their expansion plans.

The space being vacated by BAE on the second floor of the old building will be available for other uses, most likely as a center to accelerate start-up technology companies through targeted resources and services. This was one of the original purposes of the Griffiss Institute, which has not yet been fully developed, according to DiMeo.

No tenant has been announced for the first floor of the addition that was finished last year.

GLDC expanded the Griffiss Institute building, 725 Daedalian Drive, starting several years ago “in anticipation that there would be a project down the line,” said DiMeo.

The Oneida County Industrial Development Agency agreed this morning to consider a tax incentive to support BAE’s expansion plans. Members gave preliminary approval to landlord Griffiss Local Development Corp. for a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. GLDC wants to pay one third of the tax obligation for the first years, half in years six through 10 and three-quarters in the final five.

The PILOT payments will exceed the service fee payment GLDC now makes on the Griffiss Institute to the City of Rome, according to DiMeo.

GLDC currently pays the city about $12,000 a year. Under the proposed PILOT agreement, it would double to about $24,000 in the first year.

A required public hearing on the PILOT request has yet to be scheduled. The IDA board has to vote a second time on the PILOT after the hearing.

Software development for the government and defense customers is a cornerstone of the work done at Griffiss. The Rome location is part of a global company that designs and manufactures military defense systems, as well as aircraft, vehicles and ships.

BAE started in Griffiss in June 1997 when it opened an office with six employees to develop and produce Image Product Library software for the nearby Air Force Research Laboratory. Since then there have been several expansions.

In May 2001, the company dedicated a 18,000-square-foot software development facility that more than doubled the company’s presence at the park and represented a $6 million investment by BAE.

Nearly four years later, in March 2005, the company leased an additional 10,000 square feet in the Griffiss Institute building.

With approximately 100,000 employees worldwide, BAE sales topped $31.4 billion in 2007.

More information can be found at: Rome Sentinel

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