Airport hangar project price tag soars, topping $21 million

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to approve applying for a financing contract worth $17.3 million that will go toward funding the construction of five new hangars at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport.

In April, the commissioners voted to approve the same financing contract but with the lower price tag of $8.7 million, with the total estimated cost of the hangar project expected to be around $12.6 million. When the county received bids for the project almost three weeks ago, the lowest bid received was from KMD Construction at $17.3 million. Now the county must apply for a financing contract that is double the original $8.7 million and will increase the estimated cost of the project to $21.4 million.

Commissioner Greg Edds emphasized that the project was a sound investment and upgrading the airport will be good for the county even with the increased cost. But Edds added there is always anxiety over increasing costs and when that happens you can do one of three things: push forward with the plan even with the increase, wait and see if the cost will go down or abandon the project.

Pushing forward with the plan was the route he and the commissioners decided to take because “the airport is a huge economic driver for jobs in the county with over 500 jobs.”

“And with all the attention we’re getting along the interstate corridor with all these big companies, they want a place to fly into and some of them want a place to base out of. (The airport) It gives us just a tremendous amount of opportunity,” Edds said.

The commissioners voted to approve applying for the $17.3 million financing through JP Morgan once they hear back from the Local Government Commission, which has to give final approval on local governments borrowing money. This is expected to happen in early June.

The commissioners also voted Monday to approve awarding the construction contract to KMD Construction.

The hangar project includes the construction of five new box hangars at the airport: A 15,000-square-foot corporate box hangar that will house Aerowood Aviation, the official aviation partner for the Charlotte Hornets, a 15,000-square-foot public safety hangar that will be used by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and three 4,000-square-foot row hangars.

The county also has $3 million in State Capital Infrastructure Funds (SCIF) and $1 million in county funding that can be used for the project.