The Aldermen on Wed. discussed a proposed lease that could make that happen.
Frederick, Md (KM) Some new hangars are planned for Frederick Municipal Airport. During Wednesday’s Board of Aldermen Workshop, Economic Development Director Richard Griffin said the city and AOPA Holdings negotiated a lease covering nearly 620,000 square feet of property at the Airport. AOPA plans to build nine structures which will serve as hangars for general aviation aircraft.
“The leasing of land is a long standing tradition at general aviation airports,” Griffin says. “And one of the reasons for that, obviously, is to provide services for the general aviation industry, but also to drive revenue for the airport.”
AOPA Holdings is a part of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which is based in Frederick. AOPA Holdings generates revenues for the organization whose members are general aviation pilots.
In May, 2018, the City put out a request for a proposal for companies to lease the property at the Airport, and build the needed hangars. The city solicited 165 companies, and 42 of them downloaded the materials from the RFP. Two bids were submitted. The bidding process closed on September 1st, 2018.
Griffin says a Selection Team with members from the City’s Purchasing Department, the Airport, Planning and Economic Development Departments looked over the proposals, and chose AOPA. “One of the benefits is they’ve been at our airport for a long time. They’re very familiar with our airport. They have a track record of doing what they say they’re going to do,” says Griffin.
He says the plans call for the city to lease 619,625 square feet at Site F4 to AOPA. The organization would construct nine buildings of about 194,000 square feet which would contain 110 box and t-hangars. The organization will maintain the facility and will pay the city 65-cents per square foot in rent. The lease will be for 25-years with a 10-year renewal term. During the 10-year term, rent will go up to 87-cents per square foot.
The amount of revenue the city is expected to generate $14,000 annually per building assuming a total size of 21,600 square feet. At full build out, the city could take in $126,600 annually, officials say.
Airport Manager Rick Johnson says with construction costs “sky high,” letting AOPA build and manage the buildings saves the city money. “To get someone else to come in here to build the infrastructure, the buildings, have all the maintenance associated with it: everything we could think of that costs money we tried to put in there, and I’m very happy with the product we’ve produced,” he said, referring the proposed lease.
Griffin said there is a waiting list for hangar space at the Airport. “Additionally, we also know our Airport is becoming more usable and popular all the time for both aircraft to be based at our Airport, and for transient aircraft to come through the Airport as well,” he said.
If this extra space is constructed, Griffin said it could mean more aircraft coming to the Airport, and additional business for the other leaseholders at the facility, which means more revenue for the city.;
Mayor Michael O’Connor said it can be beneficial. “It’s been a stated priority from this board., and the two boards that I’ve sat on, to find ways to increase Airport revenues,” he said. “This is an opportunity to increase revenues that doesn’t require the city to spend money.”
The proposed lease is expected to be taken up again by the Aldermen at their Thursday, December 6th public meeting.
By Kevin McManus