Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is seeking federal permission to change the designation of an 11.7-acre tract of airport property that’s currently set aside for aviation use.
By doing so, the airport and the county could create a desirable tract adjacent to the airport that could be marketed for possible economic development, officials say.
“The overarching goal is to increase the amount of shovel-ready land and buildings,” said Timothy Downs, Craven County’s economic development director.
Currently there are no prospective buyers or potential developers of the property, which borders Old Airport Road near the Animal Shelter, and the parcel is not for sale.
County leaders say they just want to have a tract in their “arsenal” that would appeal to a company interested in setting up shop near the airport.
The 11.7-acre parcel is officially designated by the Federal Aviation Administration for aviation use. But Tom Braaten, director of the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport, says the airport has no current or future aviation-related uses for the land and believes it would be best used for potential development.
The tract is not adjacent to a runaway or taxiway. However, it does have access to water and sewer lines, as well as cable television and internet.
“It would be fairly easy to develop,” Braaten said.
But before airport officials and Craven County leaders can offer the tract to prospective developers, they must persuade the FAA to formally change the use of the property.
The FAA is currently asking for public comments on the proposal. The deadline to comment is Aug. 21.
Downs said some companies want their operations to be near an airport, so it would be helpful to have a tract available to offer a prospective business.
His office already has several other properties to market to prospective businesses. For example, Craven County currently owns seven tracts at the Industrial Park at Clarks. Those tracts total roughly 200 acres.
Downs also keeps an inventory of other publicly and privately held properties in an online database that is available to prospective businesses.