Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hillsboro Airport expansion: Port of Portland approves $9.9 million purchase of SolarWorld land

The Hillsboro Airport is about to get bigger, and SolarWorld's adjacent property a little smaller.

The Port of Portland Commission on Wednesday morning authorized a purchase of more than 46 acres of vacant land for nearly $9.9 million from SolarWorld, said Port of Portland Media Relations Manager Steve Johnson. SolarWorld's United States headquarters are directly north of the airport on Northwest Evergreen Road.

The Port, which owns and operates the airport, described the property as having "attractive features for development of both aviation operations area and industrial use development" in a staff report.

"The property is the largest parcel of undeveloped land contiguous with HIO [Hillsboro Airport] and is located on Evergreen Road close to Brookwood Parkway. ... The entire property is zoned general industrial with very good utilities at the property or within close proximity," the Port wrote. "Successful tech companies in the local area include SolarWorld, Intel, Adobe and Genentech."

SolarWorld recently announced a $10 million expansion of its plant, and the company said it would add 200 jobs in Hillsboro as it tries to meet increasing demand for solar panels in America. But the expansion will not require the use of the vacant land on the west end of the property, the Port wrote, and so SolarWorld put it up for sale.

"This property was not expected to be available during previous airport planning efforts, but is considered a strategic opportunity," the Port wrote.

There has been a flurry of activity at the airport of late, especially on the north side, which until now has been quiet. In October, the Port of Portland Commission approved a 35-year ground lease with Hillsboro Aviation, which will allow the company to build a new hangar near the Northwest 264th Avenue entrance off of Evergreen Road.
The hangar will be the first on the airport's north side. Hillsboro Aviation will invest more than $3 million in the new facility, and the Port will pay as much as $2.3 million for road improvements and utility extensions to open up the north side of the airport.

Hillsboro Aviation will pay somewhere between $78,000 and $96,000 per year in rent, according to a Port estimate. The hangar will be located near a new runway the Port is building to decrease congestion at the airport.

Lyons Properties LLC, a sister company to Hillsboro Aviation, is the signee on the lease. The company will use the new hangar, which will be on approximately 5 acres of land, for aircraft maintenance, fueling and sales, among other things, according to the Port.

Hillsboro Aviation announced the sale of its flight training school last week. And Nike co-founder Phil Knight recently completed a $7.6 million hangar of his own to house his private jet.

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