Hi-Lite to relocate airfield workers

Hi-Lite Airfield Services plans to remodel its fleet maintenance facility, pictured above, to accommodate its airfield services staff, who will be relocated from its Adams Center headquarters. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Hi-Lite Airfield Services has yet to select a home for its new corporate headquarters, but in order to deal with a lack of space at its current location while it decides, the company plans to remodel its outer Coffeen Street satellite facility.

Airfield service workers will move from the Adams Center headquarters to its location on Route 12F, which serves as a fleet maintenance facility, following renovations. The fleet maintenance facility, which is 14,700 square feet, has more space than the headquarters, which includes a 6,096-square-foot main office and 2,760-square-foot warehouse, according to county property records.

Theodore Misiewicz, chief financial officer for the worldwide airfield services provider, said the $1 million in updates include paving the parking lot, constructing new office spaces and a storage building in the back for minor equipment maintenance and supplies.

“The reality is we don’t have enough space, and this gives us more room to grow,” Mr. Misiewicz said. “It’ll be more efficient to have the whole business unit operate out of one location ... It should improve our productivity, and we believe it will increase our rate of growth.”

Hi-Lite plans to use the Adams Center location solely for office personnel. With staff relocating to Watertown, Mr. Misiewicz said the company will hire more, a move that should create about 40 new jobs over time.

The company applied for a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement for sales and mortgage recording tax abatement through the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. If approved by the agency’s board of directors, the PILOT could save the company $99,100, said David J. Zembiec, deputy CEO of the JCIDA’s sister organization, the Jefferson County Local Development Corp.

The agency’s loan review committee recommended the PILOT to the full board for review on Tuesday, said committee chairman Treasurer Robert E. Aliasso Jr.

“When you look at it, there’s very little involvement with public money, and this is a fantastic investment that will create new jobs,” he said.

Almost two years ago, Hi-Lite President John McNeely announced the company’s intentions to relocate its headquarters to Sackets Harbor, on a portion of the former Augsbury Oil Co. site. After experiencing obstacles with the site, including infrastructure costs, however, the company back peddled from the plan and started exploring other possible locations.

The company began leasing a space above the Watertown Savings Bank in Sackets Harbor for a small corporate office in February of last year.

Possible homes for the new headquarters include the JCIDA’s Business Complex at Watertown International near the airport, where it originally planned to relocate, its facility on Route 12F and others.

“We’re still evaluating that, and we don’t anticipate a decision until next year,” Mr. Misiewicz said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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