File photo

File photo

Mayor to negotiate leases for land at Auburn airport

City has long-term goal of attracting private development to the airport.

MD 500 Development LLC wanted to build 17 additional general aviation T-hangars and six big box hangars to house larger, multimillion-dollar types of planes and bring aviation-related businesses to the Auburn Municipal Airport.

City officials found the proposal fit with Auburn’s long-term goal of attracting private development to the airport to bring in added revenue to the airport and to fatten the city’s purse.

On Jan. 19, the Auburn City Council said “yes,” authorizing Mayor Nancy Backus to negotiate with the developer to execute two separate land leases on land already set aside for such a purpose in the city’s 2015 Airport Master Plan.

Here specifically is what MD 500 Development LLC has in mind:

• Site A: T-hangars for general aviation fliers on roughly three quarters of an acre.

• Site B: Box hangars on 1.5 acres with an apron for businesses operating out of their interior spaces, extending out to the taxiway and fence.

The Puget Sound Regional Council recently completed a study of general aviation in the area that looked at other area airports to find out what space is out there for development, and discovered limited expansion opportunities for the general aviation flyer.

To translate: there’s a stark, regional need out there for general aviation airplane hangars, whose typical users are weekend hobby fliers, flight-training aviation businesses, and whatever is not commercial or parcel-type delivery.

According to Airport Manager Tim Mensonides, by providing more of those hangars, the city would relieve pressure on Boeing Field and Sea-Tac Airport. And by pulling aviation-related businesses into those box hangars, the city would realize long-term economic gains by providing jobs and more.

Each lease will be for 30 years, which is fairly typical for aviation land leases today. The proposed lease agreements also give the city and its airport approval authority over any potential subtenants of the box hangars.

“We have not had this type of private development on the airport since 2005,” Josh Arndt, real property analyst for the city of Auburn, said last week. “So, you’ve got the immediate impact that will come from construction of the hangars themselves, and the construction sales tax that will come of that.”


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