Airport may get new hangars

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— The Steamboat Springs Airport is attempting to bring in some more money to satisfy its customers by offering some of its land to a developer interested in building airplane hangars on the property.

In the third such "request for proposals" sent out in the past six months aimed at finding a way to use extra space and make money at the airport, the city is hoping to find a developer interested in constructing hangars on a 30-acre plot of land to the north of the airport. The RFP was sent out two weeks ago and proposals are due back by the end of January.

The RFP was sent out as a reaction to responses from a previous RFP from October that called for the construction of just two hangars. When one of the respondents proposed to build more than two hangar buildings, the city decided it ought to check out the market for that idea.

"Hopefully, they'll build hangars that will suit the needs of both the airport and the tenants," Airport Manager Matt Grow said. "There's a lot of land out here that sits dormant. If some developer can figure out a way to use it, that would bring us closer to self-sufficiency."

The airport makes money from hangars through lease payments and the sale of gasoline from its fixed-base operator system.

Meanwhile, there are airplanes sitting outside on a ramp by the terminal, left there primarily by skiers who flew their planes into town. Those planes would probably be better served if they were in a hangar protected from the elements, Grow said.

"We're running out of ramp space," Grow said. "If we get any more planes, I'll have to park them in front of the terminal."

Constructing new hangars, then, could possibly help solve both problems, allowing for more indoor space for planes and bringing in another source of revenue.

The airport now has four buildings with 27 hangar units, which often hold more than one airplane.

Grow has been working with Deputy City Manager Wendy Dubord since he started at the airport this summer to increase the revenue stream at the airport. They have been attempting to find a way to turn the airport, which lost commercial service in 1994, into a more profitable enterprise. The city subsidizes the airport's debt accrued after the city built a new passenger terminal at the airport in 1993 at the cost of about $2.8 million.

Currently, the airport brings in revenue from monthly hangar leases, annual ground rent and the sale of fuel from the FBO.

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