City looking for hangar proposals

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— The city is about to put out the second request for proposals this year looking for ideas to squeeze some more money out of its airport. After reviewing two unsolicited proposals to build private hangars at the Steamboat Springs Airport, City Council decided Tuesday night to go ahead with an RFP to open the bidding to the public.
"We'd like to make sure that anyone who is interested has an equal opportunity to give us a proposal," Deputy City Manager Wendy Dubord said.
Dubord expects to put out the RFP in two to three weeks and keep it open for at east three weeks to give plane owners a chance to respond.
The RFP does not require the city to accept any of the bids on the hangars, though they can act on the best deal.
Airport Manager Matt Grow told council Tuesday night that the RFP would also help him find out how much the hangars are worth to plane owners.
This RFP would apply only to plane owners or businesses interested in hangar construction.
The city's first RFP, which garnered two promising responses, focused on finding a business operation that could use some of the approximately 16,000-square-foot passenger terminal that the city built in 1993. The terminal was built when the airport still serviced commercial airline passengers.
Through the first RFP, the city was looking for ways to use the space left dormant when commercial airlines pulled out and pay off the debt accrued from building the $2.8 million terminal. The debt schedule allows for the payments to gradually decrease until 2008, when the debt should be completely paid off.
The two original proposals also included requests to build hangars. Because those requests would overlap with proposals solicited by the second RFP, the city will look at the hangar in conjunction with the previous proposals. The city is also concerned with protecting its own interests in the property at the airport.
"We should get to use the best land instead of being left with leftovers," Dubord said.
The hangar proposition is one that the city is unsure would make it much money.
In its request to council for assistance, Dubord and Grow estimated that the hangars would bring in at least $3,000 to $5,000 each through leasing fees and fuel sales to owners.
The city operates a fixed base operation at the airport, which sells aviation fuel to plane owners and businesses, among other things.
Hangar development and fuel sales are the prime areas for increasing revenues at the airport if the city cannot get commercial operators to use the space.
"Unless an airport has commercial service, there's no real way to make money," Dubord said.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail asalzman@amigo.net

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