Aircraft manufacturer Commander Aircraft Corp. purchased land in Norman and plans to build an $8 million production facility, the company announced Thursday.

The company has two hangars at Max Westheimer Airport and will build a 100,000-square-foot building in University North Park Advanced Manufacturing Center to begin putting the Commander single-engine aircraft back into production. Once the facility is built, the company will have the space for inventory of parts, service, storage, repair and full-scale production of the Commander aircraft.

"We see international opportunities for the Commander model. We anticipate an increase in demand for new models, and we looked at several different markets for our expansion and production facility," Borui Mao, general manager of Commander Aircraft Corp., said in a news release. "Ultimately, we selected Norman because the Norman Economic Development Coalition was able to help us acquire land adjacent to the Max Westheimer Airport, key to the access and ease of incoming and outgoing aircraft. Norman made it clear that the community is interested in keeping us here."

The corporation anticipates hiring between 30 and 50 employees in the fields of aerospace and mechanical engineering, once full production is reached.

"The partnership with the University of Oklahoma is key," added Mao. "We will be filling engineering positions in the next three years. We are well aware of the talent at OU, and we are looking to them for their best engineering graduates and interns."

The corporation will begin construction in the next three years.

"The economic impact of this expansion is approximately $75 million over the next 10 years," said Maureen Hammond, interim president of the Norman Economic Development Coalition.

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