The Duluth City Council is expected to give final approval next week to a 25-year lease of a bond-financed former Northwest Airlines maintenance base to airplane manufacturer Cirrus Design Corp.

Northwest closed the base more than two years ago after it filed for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the city has since been searching for a new tenant. Under the terms of the tentative agreement, Cirrus would pay $300,000 to lease the base this year but that figure would grow over the next seven years to a full market rate.

The new lease will spare the Duluth Economic Development Authority from having to come up with the funds to maintain the building. Minnesota officials and Northwest announced a settlement in April that allowed the state to retire $36 million of general obligation bonds issued in 1995 to help finance the Duluth maintenance facility. The state and city received an unsecured claim in an amount sufficient to retire the bonds.

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