Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Looking to Boost Revenue

The airport hopes to double its lease revenue from Innovation Green, a mixed-use development of offices, including a hotel and restaurant being planned for airport property.

About 200,000 square feet of office space, 200 hotel rooms and a 150-seat restaurant are planned for 7.84 acres at the northeast corner of University Parkway and Airport Circle, east of the airport's main entrance.

The price tag for the project is estimated at $50 million to $70 million, according to Fred Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

The airport authority first entered into a ground lease with Innovation Green developers in April 2003. The lease has been amended several times and currently calls for 17.5 cents per square foot on the first of four parcels to be developed. That will increase to 34 cents because the value of the property has increased, authority members were told Monday.

The project's developer, Folsom Smith, plans to partner with Burton Katzman, Michigan-based real estate developer and local developer Dr. Mark Kauffman.

The corporation has until June 1 to submit design plans for the first building, and must submit full architectural and construction plans within four months of the airport authority's approval. Vertical construction must begin by Aug. 1, 2007, according to the latest lease amendment.

Piccolo said he expects the developers to act faster than the deadlines require, possibly taking possession of all four parcels right away. He expects the hotel to be the last parcel developed. Two of the four parcels will be used for parking.

"This delay turned out in favor of the airport and also for the developer who can develop the property in a better manner," Piccolo said.

The airport could realize $130,000 a year in income from the lease plus a percentage of gross revenues in food and beverage sales at the development.

In other airport business, the airport announced an 18.1 percent increase in overall passenger traffic for 2005. Passengers on major airlines increased 24.6 percent, with AirTran passengers alone accounting for close to 30 percent of that.

Bradenton Herald

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