Private developments rising at three airports
By Lou Ortiz
Miami International Airport is the big engine in the local economy, but Miami-Dade County's general aviation airports aren't sitting idle, with private development projects underway totaling $363 million.
The projects, from the construction of hangars, warehouses and ramp and retail facilities, are a result of lease agreements with Miami-Dade and private companies at the Kendall-Tamiami, Homestead and Opa-locka airports.
The developments and land leases are outlined in a Feb. 5 report to county commissioners from County Manager George Burgess.
Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport is 15 minutes from the business centers of south Miami-Dade, and its "proximity to the Florida Keys, Everglades and Biscayne National Parks makes it perfect for eco-tourism," Mr. Burgess said in his report.
"As a reliever to Miami International Airport, Kendall-Tamiami also features no landing fees and quick, easy access," he said.
Last year, the county signed a 35-year development lease agreement with Falcontrust Air LLC for 18 acres. The company is expected to investment $6.3 million constructing hangars and office buildings at the airport.
Lease agreements were also signed in 2007 with Tamiami Air Inc., which is building a corporate aircraft hangar for $1.3 million, and LaCross Aviation Group LLC for 12.86 acres on the north side of the airport for a fixed-base operation at $3.2 million, the report said.
Three other companies are spending another $3 million at the airport for hangars, a fuel farm, ramp facilities and a taxi lane.
The airport is "home to the Wings over Miami Aviation Museum, their flying events, the annual Sunrise Community Balloon Race and the Miami-Dade College Aviation program," the report said.
Mr. Burgess' report also updated developments at Opa-locka Executive Airport, where agreements dating back to 1999 estimated long-term projects totaling $349 million.
The airport, which doesn't charge landing fees and is designated as a reliever to Miami International Airport, is home to the US Coast Guard Air/Sea Rescue Station.
The biggest agreement at Opa-locka is a 55-year lease in 2006 with AVE LLC to develop about 180 acres for about $187 million over 10 years.
The company is expected to construct industrial and retail facilities along with aircraft storage hangars and "600,000 square feet of aeronautical-related office facilities or aeronautical-related warehouse," the report said.
The other sizeable development involves AA Acquisitions LLC, which purchased a county lease contract with Opa-locka Aviation Group that took effect in 1999 to develop 240 acres at the airport.
The company subsequently entered into a new 55-year lease, requiring it to invest $162.9 million over 15 years.
The company plans to spend the money on 1,782 parking spaces for industrial, retail and warehouse uses, and 1,420,281 square feet of aircraft storage hangars.
At Homestead General Aviation Airport, which also does not charge landing fees, the county signed an agreement last year with BFFE Inc. for a fuel facility on the west side of the airport.
The airfield is near Homestead/Miami Speedway and 25 minutes from Biscayne National Park's coral reefs, the report said.
Homestead is "the last refueling stop before the Florida Keys and points south," the report said. "The airport serves all aspects of the general aviation community from business aircraft to skydiving and gliding."