By Michael King
First major private investment in new general aviation area
GREENVILLE — Kimberly-Clark Corp. will build a new aviation facility on the south end of Outagamie County Regional Airport utilizing the general aviation infrastructure investments made there over the past five years.
The Outagamie County Board on Tuesday authorized Airport Director Marty Lenss and County Executive Tom Nelson to enter into a land lease with K-C for about 1.7 acres for $17,679 annually over 20 years. The proposal, which includes an inflation price adjustment every three years, also includes two 10-year renewal options.
The lease also gives K-C, which hopes to start construction soon on the new hangar and office for its flight department, a right of first refusal on an adjacent 1.1-acre lot for potential future expansion.
“It’s certainly an important investment by the private sector into the airport,” Lenss said.
It will be located right next to the county’s new $5 million general aviation terminal and 12,000-square-foot hangar now under construction. The airport has made significant investments, including access roads, parking lots, utilities, taxiways, hangars and a self-serve fueling station for private pilots and businesses that own or lease planes.
“This addition by K-C tells us that we’re doing some things out at the airport that are right,” said Supv. Dean Culbertson of Greenville, chairman of the Property and Airport Committee. “The fact that they would seek to invest at our airport is a good thing.”
Lenss said the hope is that when all three facilities are up and operating by EAA next July that additional private investment will follow. “We want it to be very much a corporate feel, a corporate campus,” he said. “A lot of those EAA visitors are general aviation enthusiasts, business owners, operators and general aviation aircraft manufacturers.”
SMA Construction of Abrams, which is building the county’s $3.6 million terminal and $650,000 hanger, also will be handling K-C’s project.
The county has received about $1.7 million in state and federal aid for its projects and may only use $3.2 million of the $4 million authorized bonding authority approved by the County Board.
“We’re excited,” Lenss said. “It’s that first big investment into the south (general aviation) area that was envisioned many years ago in a master plan so we’re finally starting to see some development there.”
The master plan sought to move general aviation activities away from commercial aviation at the main terminal for safety and security reasons.
When it opens next summer, the environmentally friendly 8,000-square-foot terminal will have geothermal heating, rooftop solar and natural lighting. It will replace the existing Platinum Flight Center terminal built in 1963 that was operated privately as Maxair until the county acquired it in 2010.
Lenss said K-C needed a new aviation facility due to their business planning and needs based on some aircraft changes that they have made. It still has nearly seven years remaining on a land lease for its existing hangar north of the main terminal.
Earlier this month, the County Board approved three amended leases with Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. for additional hangar space and to resolve a parking lot lease issue.
The two-year lease extension related to an additional 1,500 square feet of the south hangar facility and 75,405 square feet of land nearby will generate about $28,000 per year in additional rent to the airport.
One move terminated a parking lot lease agreement with Gulfstream under a land lease for the north hangar complex. Under the other lease amendment, Gulfstream will make monthly payments of $1,077 over 23 months as a special assessment to reimburse the county for construction of an additional 37,800 square feet of paved parking lot at the facility plus interest costs.
Gulfstream is a major airport tenant with about 800 employees making “very good paying, family-sustaining jobs,” Lenss said.
An amended lease with Allegiant Air for about 175 square feet of office space previously leased by Frontier Airline will provide additional rent of $4,627 annually.