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Hernando airport lures overnight delivery giant

Federal Express plans to open a terminal in the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park early next year.

The Memphis, Tenn., overnight delivery giant has signed an agreement with Pearson Industries Inc. to lease an 18,100-square-foot building that Pearson will construct on Flight Path Drive, said Al Fluman, spokesman for Pearson Industries.

The terminal will provide dock space for parcel delivery and pickup vehicles, offices and a customer service area. It will employ at least 15 workers and accommodate 12 vehicles, said Fluman, the county's former economic development director.

"They are pulling employees from several different stations to move into that new facility," said Federal Express spokesman Armand Schneider. "We'll be able to serve the area more efficiently than we do now."

Schneider said he was not familiar with the details of the new Hernando terminal. But he emphasized that it would serve primarily the Hernando market and would be just one of more than 1,000 Federal Express stations nationwide.

"(The terminal is) nothing out of the routine," he said. "It's not a regional hub."

Still, the station will be an important service to local businesses and residents, Fluman said.

"It will improve the parcel delivery and pickup in this area," said Fluman, noting that United Parcel Service already has a terminal in Brooksville. "It's a real plus for us."

Fluman said he expects Federal Express to move into its new building by May. "We'll start construction just as soon as we can pull the permits," he said.

Though Federal Express will be located in the 160-acre Airport Industrial Park, it has no immediate plans to use the airport itself, Fluman said.

Other details on the planned terminal were unavailable late Tuesday afternoon, when the deal was announced in a news release issued by Gary E. Schraut of Century 21 Gavish Realty of Brooksville. Schraut could not be reached for comment.

Gavish Realty, which brokered the deal, worked with Pearson and the county's economic development department over the past 18 months to lure Federal Express to the area, according to the release.

"This is a good example of two private-sector businesses working together with the county economic development office to bring about a project that benefits the entire community," Rick Pearson, president of Pearson Industries, said in a statement.