Friday, December 05, 2014

Naples Airport Authority pays $1 million for Health Management Associates hangar

NAPLES, Fla. - The Naples Airport Authority has purchased a more than $1 million hangar from Health Management Associates, adding space for up to seven more planes.

It’s the second sale of HMA property this year, since Tennessee-based Community Health Systems purchased Naples’ only Fortune 500 company in January, leaving its local office space and hangar vacant.

“Having two of these big corporate hangars really is a good thing for us,” said Ted Soliday, the airport’s executive director, adding that they’d hoped since 1995 to add more space. “We had intended at that time to build an office and a hangar, but couldn’t afford it.”

County deeds show the Naples Airport Authority paid HMA $1.012 million in October for the 9,600-square-foot hangar, which is attached to the office building the airport built in 1995. The roughly 760-square-foot HMA office, in the airport office building, was accessible through its hangar and the authority will be leasing that space to another tenant. The airport has another large hangar, about twice the size, that it’s owned and leased out since the early 1980s.

When the airport building was built, Soliday said, enough offices were built to lease to tenants, including HMA, European American Flight and the Pilot Shop. HMA then built a hangar for three aircraft the company used to fly corporate executives to its hospitals nationwide.

HMA operated dozens of hospitals nationwide, including two Physicians Regional hospitals in Collier County, with 1,400 employees, and a hospital in Lehigh Acres in Lee County — all now operated by Community Health.

On Sept. 30, deeds show, HMA sold its high-profile office center, a three-building, 190,000-square foot office complex off U.S. 41 near the Waterside Shops. Chicago-based real estate investor Steelbridge Capital LLC paid $33.65 million for the complex.

“They were having a hard time considering how to sell (the hangar),” Soliday said. “We knew they were leaving and that’s when we approached the new company and asked what their plans were for the hangar — and then we made an offer.”

Four aircraft now occupy the hangar, which is leased to Nicewonder Aviation LLC, Fly Away Home LLC, Lake Marketing and a businessman, Soliday said, adding that it can accommodate up to seven planes “very carefully.”

The air-carrier airport is home to flight schools, charter operators, car rental agencies, corporate and nonaviation businesses and community services, including fire and rescue, mosquito control and the County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit. There were 95,120 takeoffs and landings last fiscal year.

The hangar is among 300 there, most of them smaller buildings used by individual pilots. The numerous hangars enabled the Naples Airport Authority to submit a request for proposals to Hertz, which is building its headquarters in Estero.

“The advantage we had is our hangar was already available,” Soliday said, adding that Hertz has leased that space for about two years.

The additional hangar space also will help during hurricane season, when pilots need to secure aircraft, Soliday said, adding that they can fit many planes inside due to varying sizes and wing heights.

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