Glendale's 2nd Chance

Glendale's 2nd Chance Built in 1987, an airport begins to reach its potential through orchestrated effort BY John F. Infanger, Editorial Director July 1999 GLENDALE, AZ — The Glendale Municipal Airport was named the 1999...

Since that time, the city and airport have been moving hand in hand, purchasing necessary noise abatement and development acreage, promoting the growing industrial park, and setting aside acreage on the east side for an aviation development park.

The second runway has been abandoned, and Coffman Associates is midway through an update of the master plan. Some of the early projections: based aircraft will increase from 235 in 1998 to 375 by 2020; annual operations will go from 115,056 in 1998 to 215,000 in 2020.

The airport is in the midst of significant hangar development, with as many as 150 new units coming on line. Local interests and national developer Erect-a-Tube are leasing property and financing construction of T-hangars and much needed corporate facilities.

Of the Erect-a-Tube contract, McCue says, "In my mind, this is a deal made in heaven. They're going to come in and build me 59 T-units, without a doubt 100 percent occupancy the day they open the door. We put no payments to be made on those hangars for the first six months. In other words, you've got 100 percent occupancy, you've got your revenue coming in before you make your first payment — for six months."

The "deal" is not unlike one McCue arranged with Glendale Aviation, which was having difficulty when he arrived because of low activity at the airport. Subsequently, the FBO's lease was renegotiated to reduce its rates, and a clause was included that says GA must reach 750,000 gallons in fuel sales before another FBO can open at the airport. "He's paying me a fair return right now," says McCue. "After the end of another four years, we'll renegotiate and maybe notch it up a bit. Here's a guy who has really hung with it. He has the only Hertz rent-a-car franchise in the entire West Valley; I'm not going after a piece of that. I want him to be solid, and maybe we'll talk about it later."

$$$ for development
During McCue's term here, some $9 million in federal, state, and local grants have come to the airport. Developments have included enclosing the terminal's top floor, now rented to a flight academy; increasing airport acreage from 420 to 730; a maintenance building; 155-car parking lot and an FBO parking lot; and an environmental assessment for the runway extension ($3 million, additional 1,800-ft. to 7150-ft.; widening to 100-ft.), slated for groundbreaking in 2000.

All along the way, McCue has gotten his paperwork in order and put his hand out. "We'd finish everything out, and then we went back for more," says McCue. "Both the federal and state agencies kept saying, ’The reason you're getting it is you get it, you spend it, and then you ask for more.'"

McCue was particularly taken with the support he has received from the state. "Having been in Indiana and Ohio, and seeing other states where some airports may get $10,000 a year, the cap for airports this year in Arizona is a $1.6 million (each). And one of the best things is, regardless if you're at the cap, if you get a federal grant the state will automatically kick in the 5 percent."

With much of the infrastructure in place or being developed, McCue is now turning his attention to development of the 80-acre aviation business park and revenue generation. He predicts the airport will break even the first time this year.

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