City officials, in an effort to expand aeronautical services at Kissimmee Gateway Airport, are seeking a team to redevelop 11 acres on the airport property.
The city has issued a Request for Qualifications seeking a development team with the vision and financial capabilities to transform the property into a first-rate fixed base operator (FBO) site. Applicants must respond to the RFQ by 2 p.m. April 13.
Kissimmee’s political leaders see a vibrant general commercial airport as a catalyst for economic development. More than 100 acres of aviation and industrial property are available for long-term lease, either at the airport or in the vicinity.
Just last year, local developer Thomas Chalifoux filed plans to expand his Kissimmee Commerce Center with four new flex warehouse buildings on 2.26 acres just north of the airport.
“The aviation industry is an industry that’s full of high-wage jobs that any community, including Kissimmee, would like to see,” said Belinda Kirkegard, the city’s economic development director, told GrowthSpotter. “The largest cluster of industrial land within the city of Kissimmee is around our airport.”
The project site is located in the southeast quadrant of the airport, south of Runway 6-24, which runs from the southwest to the northeast. Stormwater infrastructure is already in place, as is a 1-acre paved parking lot, according to the RFQ. Water and sewer will be available by 2021, and a new contract control tower southwest of the site is coming, the document states.
The city is offering incentives for the developer including fast-track permitting and exemptions from paying landing fees at the airport, building permit fees, property taxes for aviation uses, and city fire or emergency service fees. Mobility and impact fee credits will also be available.
“The city desires to maximize the use of the property to best enhance aviation services, economic development and job creation,” Shaun Germolus, director of aviation at the airport, told GrowthSpotter.
In addition to developing the property, the winning applicant would have the option of remaining as the operator, Germolus said. There is a fixed base operator on the property now, offering aircraft fueling, maintenance and repair. But city officials want to expand the services offered there. The city also plans to replace outdated buildings, including a hangar that houses the current FBO but is located too close to the airport runway.
“We’re going to remove that building,” Germolus said. “In the meantime, we’re looking for a developer to come in and offer similar services (as well as) complement the services there today and possibly offer something else that may not be offered right now.”
The city plans on building a new taxiway by 2022 or 2023, Germolus said. It will run parallel to Runway 6-24 and provide safer and more-efficient taxying for planes taking off from or landing on the 5,000-foot runway. Two other hangars on the property, dating back to World War II, will likely be demolished by the developers to increase room for a new structure.
In addition to this redevelopment project, a number of capital projects impacting the airport are either happening or anticipated according to the airport’s website:
- Hoagland Boulevard, a major arterial road, is undergoing a $30 million expansion and realignment. When completed, Hoagland will provide closer access to the airport.
- The expansion of Martin Luther King Boulevard will support development opportunities between the airport and Kissimmee’s central corridor.
- Business Airpark, consisting of 10 pad-ready parcels ranging from 1 to 1.5 acres, is designed to attract small- to medium-sized businesses interested in constructing a hangar under a long-term lease.
- The 9-acre Thacker Redevelopment Site once housed ball fields but has reverted to the airport. The next step is for the city to accept requests for proposals for the development plan.
Located eight miles from Walt Disney World and 10 miles from the Orlando-Orange County Convention Center, Kissimmee Gateway Airport accommodates general aviation air service 24 hours a day on its two paved runways. The airport handles over 130,000 flight operations annually.