Northrop Grumman Moves To Singing River Island - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Northrop Grumman Moves To Singing River Island

"I absolutely think it's a win win deal for Jackson County, Pascagoula, for Northrop Grumman, and the state of Mississippi."

Secretary of State Eric Clark didn't waste any time letting the Jackson County Board of Supervisors know why Northrop Grumman would be an economic boost for Singing River Island.

"We are looking at 360 people working out there," Clark said.

Back in June, the state took control of the 437 acre property once the Navy left the island. Clark says it has been a big expense on the state's back to maintain the property.

"If we don't get a tenant that's paying significant revenue to the Jackson County and the state of Mississippi, then the facilitates deteriorate, and it cost thousands of thousands of dollars a month."

Those vital points equaled a "yes" vote from supervisors, and the Jackson County Port Authority.

"The port authority's lease from the state is 99 years, and the sublease with Northrop Grumman is for five years," Jackson County Port Director Mark McAndrews said.

McAndrews says under the lease terms, Mississippi's largest employer will pay about $918,000 a year to rent 17 buildings on 23 acres of the property for office space. The rent money will be split between the county and the state. But the contract is drawing criticism and concern from some leaders.

Supervisor Frank Leach believes the board should have had more time to study the proposal.

"I just want to dot the i's and cross the t's, and I don't like the hurry up," Leach said.

Pascagoula Mayor Matthew Avera says he's worried about fire safety.

"We believe that in due course we will be able to work those fire rating issues. We have arrangements with Northrop Grumman to man the station and the apparatus that are there," Mayor Avera said.

There are still portions of Singing River Island that have not been developed.  Business leaders say a study is being done to find the best fit for those empty parts.

Northrop Grumman was not represented at the meeting.  In a statement, Northrop Grumman President Philip Teel says, "Northrop Grumman is proud to be working alongside our county and statewide partners, to return economic development value back to Singing River Island. We look forward to a successful transition into our new office.

By Patrice Clark

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