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CB12 OKs two JFK cargo sites

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Community Board 12 became the fourth and final board to approve the construction of two new air cargo facilities on more than 40 acres at John F. Kennedy International Airport last week, sending the project to the office of Borough President Claire Shulman for her consideration.

Boards 10, 13, and 14 had already approved the project. But Board 12, which covers the fourth Queens community surrounding the airport, was also required to sign off on the project even though it is on airport property, leased by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The city Department of Business Services and the Economic Development Corporation submitted the $155 million plan to Community Board 12, which includes Jamaica, South Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis and the northern areas of Springfield Gardens.

The two air cargo facilities are slated to provide new storage houses for Lufthansa, KLM, Alliance, and other airlines that currently have outdated storage facilities at JFK, said EDC representative Douglas Rice.

The facilities would be developed by Airis Corporation, the world’s largest private aviation facility development company. Airis designs, constructs and maintains facilities at airports around the globe, including Newark International Airport.

Rice and Airis representative Ray Hagen described the project, which is completely separate from a different, more controversial plan to construct an air cargo facility outside the confines of airport property along Rockaway Boulevard and within Idlewild Park in Springfield Gardens .

“I would suggest that you vote for this because it is not really of community concern except that this means jobs,” Land Use Committee Chairman Reuben Holder told the other Board 12 members.

All 26 board members who attended approved the measure on the condition that Airis set up a meeting for the community board’s economic development committee with the contractor.

That meeting would give board members the chance to petition the contractor for jobs for area residents.

Alex Rosa, a spokeswoman for the borough president, said her office would take action on the measure shortly, at which point their recommendation would go to the city Planning Commission before its final destination at the City Council.

If the Airis project is approved by Shulman and the City Council, the development company will sublease the land from the Port Authority, which has leased the airport property from the city through Dec. 31, 2015.

However, Airis requires a sublease much longer than just 14 years, so that it will be able to finance the project. For that reason, Airis is arranging an extension of its sublease directly with the city, so the financing can be spread over 30 years.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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