The aerospace company Citadel Completions has set itself up for growth after recently executing a land lease agreement that includes 35 acres next to its existing facilities at Chennault International Airport.

The agreement comes nearly two years after Citadel officials announced a $17.6 million investment for an aircraft center at Chennault to allow for modification of luxury and commercial jet interiors and aircraft maintenance. Since starting operations at Chennault in late 2018, Citadel's customer base has steadily increased. Citadel currently has more than 260,000 square feet of hangar space.

Chennault Executive Director Kevin Melton called the lease agreement a big win for the airport.

"This is the place to come be if you want to be a part of growth," he said on Friday.

Conceptual renderings, development strategy and a groundbreaking ceremony are anticipated for late spring or early summer, Melton said.

Citadel officials said in May 2018 that Southwest Louisiana can expect 258 direct new jobs and 347 indirect jobs. The direct jobs have an average annual salary of $80,000.

Melton said further growth from Citadel and other companies is expected once Chennault acquires the land occupied by Mallard Cove Golf Course.

Joe Bonita, managing director at Citadel, said in a news release that the company looks forward to growing its working relationship with Chennault and pushing economic development in Lake Charles and surrounding areas.

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