Developer Plans New Cargo Jet Facility at Anchorage Int'l Airport

Dec. 7--A developer is planning a $70 million project to support cargo jets making stops at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

The project includes a 100,000-square-foot building to be erected on 40 acres of leased airport land along Postmark Drive, right across from the 24-hour airport post office.

Outside the building, the developer plans a service ramp with parking spaces for nine aircraft, including Boeing 747s, MD-11s and the enormous new Airbus A380.

Lee Nunn, president of Anchorage Global Logistics Airpark Development Inc., said he and other investors in the venture hope to market space in the project to existing air-cargo carriers, as well as new prospects that might start flying into Anchorage.

Nunn said he sees good potential for air carriers to blossom, with China booming and Japan's economy improving.

"They're all using Anchorage as their gas station, and they can carry a lot more cargo if they stop here to refuel," Nunn said. "We feel we're well-positioned to capture some of the growth."

Airport director Mort Plumb said Tuesday the land the developer is leasing is vacant.

The lease will run up to 55 years, provided the developer keeps to a certain schedule for building the project, Plumb said. He added that the airport will collect the standard lease rate as set by the state transportation commissioner.

Assuming all goes as planned, "it has the potential to be good news" for the airport, Plumb said.

The project announced Tuesday was proposed as early as 2002 but stalled, Nunn said.

Anchorage, located midway on the busy trade route between Asia and North America, has become a major refueling stop for air-cargo carriers, with dozens of jets touching down weekly. Although some jets can complete a trans-Pacific flight without stopping in Anchorage, this limits the amount of cargo they can haul due to the extra fuel they must carry. So it often makes sense to stop in Anchorage to refuel.

Nunn said his firm, which has no other properties at the airport, will provide a new station for carriers to fuel up, to break down and repack cargo indoors, to perform aircraft maintenance, and to de-ice their wings before takeoff.

Another firm and minority owner in the venture, Debenham Properties, will handle property management for the building, which won't house aircraft but rather vehicles used to service jets including tugs, lift trucks, dollies and the like, Nunn said.

The building also will have upstairs office space overlooking the aircraft ramp, he said.

Major construction will begin next summer, with completion expected in fall 2007, Nunn said.