Hangars open for business | SteamboatToday.com

Hangars open for business

Christine Metz

Sixteen new hangars at the Steamboat Springs Airport are now in use, one more step the city is taking to become self-sufficient.

Construction of the hangars, which range from 1,428 square feet to 3,000 square feet, was mostly finished by December, and the hangars were opened for business by Presidents Day Weekend.

Planning for more hangar space began in 2000. A plan by developer Michael Dunn was presented in 2001, and several changes to the number and size of the hangars have been made since.

Before Dunn began construction on the hangars in June, nine of the 16 had been sold with the highest demand for the larger 2,700- to 3,000-square-foot hangars.

“The list of benefits created by these new hangars is huge,” Airport Manager Matt Grow said. “They will increase the revenue at the airport through ground leases, fuel sales and temporary overnight parking.”

The hangars also decrease safety concerns at the airport, Grow said, by keeping airplanes out of the weather and allowing them to be in locked buildings.

The hangars, along with the city’s lease of the airport terminal to Smartwool, will generate revenue to help offset the annual subsidy the city gives each year.

Ground leases from the hangars are expected to generate $15,786 in the first year and will increase by 3 percent each year for the 40-year length of the lease. Each hangar has a minimum of a 300-gallon fuel-purchasing requirement, bringing in another $300 per hangar.

The city is paying off a $2.8 million debt for the 1992 construction of the airport terminal. That debt will be paid off in 2008.

In 2003, the airport’s operating loss was $425,211, compared with $556,330 in 2000.

Grow said the airport could be at the break-even point by 2006, when the terminal debt at $86,000 is less than the revenue coming from the SmartWool lease.

In fall 2002, Dunn had to revise plans for the hangars when just three of the proposed 10 hangars were sold more than six months after the city closed on a lease agreement.

The original hangar arrangement proposed larger and higher-end hangars and required owners to purchase between 1,900 and 3,000 gallons of fuel per year.

Before agreeing to lease 30 acres of hangar space to Dunn, the city had a list of 45 names of people waiting for hangars. Many of those on the list weren’t willing to pay the $144,000 to $250,000 per hangar in the original plan. Also, fewer people than expected wanted to share the cost of hangars, which made the old minimum fuel purchasing requirements too steep.

Transportation Director George Krawzoff said a waiting list for hangar space remains, and there is a second phase to the project.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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