Gulfstream to expand in Savannah

SAVANNAH -- The Savannah Airport Commission has voted unanimously to lease 159 acres of land to Gulfstream Aerospace for a new project.

Gulfstream has invited a host of dignitaries and media to its Savannah headquarters Monday for what it called a major announcement.

Joe Drake, Gulfstream's representative at the meeting Wednesday, said the company is excited about the project and appreciates the cooperation it's received from the airport, the city and Chatham County.

Drake nodded when airport commission chairman Sylvester Formey expressed the hope that Gulfstream's announcement will involve additional jobs for the community. "We'll have all the details on Monday," Drake said.

The lease agreement involves four parcels in the airport's northwest quadrant.

Gulfstream, which shares runway space with the airport, will lease the first parcel, about 55 acres, for $4,500 per acre annually, with options on the other three at $450 per acre per year until they are utilized.

The lease is for 50 years, with the potential for extension, although options on the last two parcels expire in 10 years if not exercised.

The Airport Commission has agreed to complete wetlands mitigation on the property, add one taxiway and extend another and relocate part of Gulfstream Road to accommodate the taxiways.

Airport executive director Patrick Graham said most of the improvements were already in the airport's development plans.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., owned by General Dynamics, is based in Savannah and employs more than 9,000 people at seven locations, according to its website.