The Westmoreland County Airport Authority is building a row of four aircraft hangars that will be available for rent in the spring at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.
The $878,000 project by Arcon Contracting, of Lower Burrell, will result in three 3,500-square-foot hangars and one 4,000-square-foot hangar at the Unity Township airport.
The facilities, to be built along Route 981 south, will be able to accommodate smaller corporate jets and larger twin-engine planes, authority spokesman Dwayne Pickels said.
Each hangar will be equipped with individual utilities -- electric, gas, water and sewer. Monthly rent will be about $1,500, Pickels said.
"That site has space for three more rows of hangars, and we're commencing with the first row," Pickels said. "We're looking for tenants for the four we're building now, and if there's more demand, we'll build more to meet that demand."
The authority might build several T-hangars at the site for tenants seeking to store smaller, more mobile aircraft, he said.
The site is part of about 750 acres of open space on the property of Arnold Palmer Regional. There's additional room for development along the Route 982 corridor and at the property's northern end, Pickels said.
"If other airports are having trouble finding space for tenants, we have the space ready to go. We just have to find the funding, but that shouldn't be difficult with our track record with the Federal Aviation Administration and PennDOT," Pickels said.
Fifty percent of the project is being financed by PennDOT's Bureau of Aviation, and the remainder will come from the authority's share of a $2 million bond issue set up in 2005 to cover the local cost of construction projects at Arnold Palmer Regional, he said.
Usually, the FAA funds 95 percent of project costs at Arnold Palmer and Rostraver airports, with an additional 2.5 percent each coming from PennDOT and the authority, he said.
"The reason for securing the bond was that even 2.5 percent can get pretty pricey when we try to cover it out of our annual operating budget," Pickels said.
However, Pickels and Arcon site superintendent Bill Bamber say they are optimistic about future growth at Arnold Palmer Regional.
"We're hoping, based on the numbers so far," said Bamber, adding that Arcon would be interested in building the planned T-hangars at the site, if needed.
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