October 2014 – By Annette.Manwell, HollandSentinel.com The West Michigan Regional Airport Business Center has inched one step closer to coming to fruition. The $500,000 purchase of 15.41 acres — where the facility will be built — was approved Monday by the West Michigan Airport Authority. The land is owned by Johnson Controls Inc. and is adjacent to the airport and Crown Motors’ property. Site work could begin next summer.
Building a business center at the airport has been the goal of the authority since its inception in 2008 after voters in the cities of Holland and Zeeland and Park Township approved a 0.1 mill tax levy to support it. The levy was renewed in 2012.
The purchase came to $33,025 per acre. It is contingent on the city of Holland purchasing Regent Boulevard for $1. The Holland City Council has agreed to that purchase. The businesses there, including the airport, will be charged an assessment to bring that street up to city standards at a total cost of $350,000. The airport’s assessment is expected to be about $61,000. The city will be responsible for the maintenance of that road once the work is done and purchase finalized.
The overall project is expected to cost $6,486,634 and includes the land acquisition and design work and construction of the business center, apron and necessary infrastructure. Working with the Federal Aviation Commission, the Michigan Department of Transportation Airports Division and the Michigan Economic Development Commission, the airport authority is expecting to contribute about 10 percent of the project cost. Various unspecified contributions are being provided for furnishing and the apron, according to a budget released Monday.
The land acquisition will cost $611,000 total, including the land, the $61,000 assessment for Regent Boulevard and $50,000 for wetland credits. The total cost to the WMAA for this portion is $88,500. The state and federal governments are committed to the lion’s share of cost for the wetland credits. And though final approval is still needed, it is expected that MDOT will pay $475,000 of the property costs, according to the released budget.
WMAA Manager Greg Robinson is confident this will happen.
The MEDC is expected to pick up $1.3 million of the $1.8 million to construct the business center, and MDOT will pay most of the remaining cost.
It’s good use of taxpayer’s dollars to be able to leverage 90 percent of the needed funds, Robinson said.
The business center is meant to be the welcome center for many who fly into the area to do business. While it was addressed that the Johnson Controls Inc. shuttle, which was at one time running four flights per day, has not been running, the airport has stayed busy with business flight, said Ron Ludema, manager of the airport’s fixed base operator Tulip City Air Service. Hardware store Menards now has two flights per day, he said, and fuel sales at the end of the fiscal year were 14,000 gallons more than last year. He has also hired more staff.