Nearly a decade after first proposing a major addition to Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport, Windsor developer Martin Lind is back with new plans for the airport.
Lind presented preliminary plans to the new Northern Colorado Regional Airport Commission last week that propose building about 30 hangars and two large commercial buildings on roughly 50 acres.
If approved by the commission, which now oversees the municipally owned airport, the airport would lease land to Lind and his company, Water Valley.
Whether the project moves forward rests on the ability to negotiate favorable lease terms — a minimum of 50 years — with the commission, Lind said.
"The critical question is can we get a lease that entices private development on public land," he said. As airport governance changed from Fort Collins and Loveland city councils to a regional airport commission, Lind said the business model sought to entice private equity.
"We're honoring that business plan with this proposal," he said. "We're hoping we can get a recommendation from (airport) staff in the near future that is positive."
If that happens, Water Valley would serve as the master developer, lease the land from the airport and then go into the market to find aviation-related parties to build or lease existing space.
The airport has seen significant growth in its amount of corporate and business users within the last three years, necessitating more hangars, airport manager Jason Licon said. The airport currently owns 40 of the roughly 200 hangars on site. All of the hangars are leased.
"The airport has doubled its corporate aviation," Licon said. "That trend has really grown, so the amount of space available for those types of users is maximized with what currently exists. Water Valley is trying to capture the market demand that has shown growth over the last few years."
To entice corporate traffic to the airport "it has to have world-class facilities," Lind said. "Safety and reliability is No. 1. You can't have a $50 million jet and have a hangar door that's broke so you can't get in or out. We just don't have any facilities."
The airport has seen no private investments in 30 years while the area around the facility has seen "billions of dollars of private investments," Lind said. "It isn't that the area isn't growing and in need of corporate travel; it just simply has been hard to do that. We're hoping to change that."
Lind's plan would be phased in as the market demands.
If the project were to go forward, Lind said he hopes to make a hard marketing push next year. "If it's delayed too long we will miss another year and I will be like a Labrador puppy and a butterfly and I will go chase after something new."
Developing part of the airport has long been on Lind's wish list. Prior to the recession, he had plans to develop 225 acres in two parcels north and east of the airport . He envisioned aviation-related businesses such as airplane or parts manufacturers, new engine technology companies and services including high-end hangars. He also wanted to add a fixed-base operator, or FBO, that would provide fuel, oxygen, catering and even a restaurant.
Plans stalled when the economy took a nosedive and Lind sold a portion of the property.
- Source: http://www.coloradoan.com