Hangar would be airportís largest if plans go through

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY ó Rowan County officials say a proposed new hangar could draw in more airport clients and eventually bring in $60,000 per year in new revenue.
County commissioners voted last week to move forward with plans for the $1.3 million community hangar, which would be available for both general and corporate aviation clients.
Carl Ellington, an engineer with Talbert and Bright, said firm representatives recently met with the countyís airport advisory committee and discussed the future needs of the Rowan County Airport.
He said he was told the county has filled its current hangar space.
With a height of 40 feet and a footprint of 15,000 square feet, the proposed new hangar would be larger than any that exist now at the airport.
It could house a total of eight airplanes, Ellington said, including six smaller airplanes as well as a King Air aircraft and a Citation jet plane.
ěThat hangar would be a size that can handle your larger corporate jets, such as your larger Gulfstream jets, in the future,î he said.
Ellington said the preliminary design allows for office space to be added in the future.
If the $1.3 million construction cost was financed over 12 years, the annual payment would be about $110,000.
According to County Manager Gary Page, the county would make about $60,000 back per year in hangar rental and taxes.
Another $312,000 in related costs, like road construction, signage and utilities, could possibly be paid by other entities besides the county.
Page said he will talk with Salisbury officials about extending a waterline and others from the N.C. Department of Transportation about funding an entry road.
ěRight now, when people come to the airport, if they just have a $5 million jet and want to put it inside overnight, we have to say we donít have space for that,î he said.
Commissioner Jim Sides said if the county hadnít previously spent the money to build 30 or so smaller hangars, the airport wouldnít be making money like it does today.
Sides said he thinks a corporate client will come along and want to rent out the whole hangar. Even one $5 million jet, he said, could create $30,000 a year in tax revenue for Rowan County.
ěI really do believe, even though I know this is a step of faith, that this hangar will pay off,î Sides said.
Commissioner Jon Barber asked how much it would cost this fiscal year to move forward with the project.
Page said drawing up plans, getting specifications and taking bids should take three or four months and cost about $100,000 or less.
If commissioners decide not to approve construction at that time, he said, they can put those plans on the shelf and wait until thereís more money or demand.
Barber asked if any private or commercial clients have shown interest, and if so, whether they could send the county letters of intent.
Page answered that at least one local client has shown ěa lot of interestî in moving a jet to the Rowan County airport.
It will be easier to get commitments from potential tenants, he added, if the county has plans already drawn up and ready to build.
ěI know that $100,000 would go a long way in adding some additional staff in the 911 center, which is sorely needed,î Barber said. ěAnd $1.3 million in total sure can fund lot of teacher assistant positions.î
The board voted 4-1 to continue with the project. Barber voted against it, saying heíd rather wait until Dec. 5 when the county receives its annual audit report.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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