UPDATED — When Lloyd Partin took over as manager of the Augusta Municipal Airport a year ago, he says there were 20 open T-hangars and space in the main community hangar.
“Everything’s full,” Partin says.
Partin is working with Michael Dunn of the Denver-based Aviation Development Group to build private hangar condos at the airport.
He decided to do it after querying the local market to see if he should add more hangars.
“We sent out feelers essentially to see if there is pent-up demand,” Partin says. “We got a pretty good response back from people saying, yeah, we’re pretty interested.”
First, Partin considered having the airport build more hangars in addition to its 70 T-hangars and community hangar.
“That’s something we’ve been beating our head on the wall looking at,” Partin says.
He says the expense is too great.
Private condos make sense, Partin says, but he says there’s been a misperception about the ability for private development at the airport.
“I don’t know how that got miscommunicated over the years, but that’s what we’re hearing,” he says. “That’s the farthest thing from the truth there is.”
The permitting process and plans will take some time.
“We’re looking to hopefully get started with some hangar development within the next six to nine months,” Partin says. “There’s a process to get there to that point.”
He says at a private airport, individuals have to pay taxes on ground leases and improvements to property. At federally maintained airports such as Augusta’s, there are taxes only on the improvements.
“There’s substantial … savings,” Partin says.
A bigger deal, he says, may be the wait times for takeoffs. Partin says at larger airports, there can be substantial delays due to commercial flights and test aircraft.
“It seems like everybody in the world has priority except the private jet owners,” he says. “That equates to dollars that are essentially going out the back of the airplane.”
Partin says that was one of the resounding themes he heard when querying potential condo users.
“It seems to be a growing problem, from what I’m hearing.”
The Augusta airport has 167 acres. Partin says condos that users could own or sublease are both possibilities.
“We’ve got a substantial amount of land that is still available for development.”