Nov. 18--CHINO -- Developers are planning to add more than 400,000 square feet of hangar space to Chino Airport, making this the facility's biggest period of growth since the early 1980s.
Few available development opportunities in small airports in Los Angeles and Orange counties have forced more builders to consider building at the 1,100-acre Chino Airport.
San Bernardino County, which owns Chino Airport, has received five proposals from developers to build hangars, said Bill Ingraham, the county's airports director.
"It was 20 to 25 years ago when Chino Airport last had growth like this," Ingraham said. "I see a push to expand aviation facilities in Chino."
The five developers building at Chino Airport plan to add nearly 400,000 square feet of hangar space and more than 30,000 square feet of aviation-related office space to the airport. Each of the projects being built are in various stages of planning, although Corona-based Clendenen Development has already started construction and Colorado-based Aviation Development Group plans to start in a few weeks.
The new hangars being built will be high-end facilities, unlike many of the existing hangars at Chino Airport, which was originally built to serve as a military-pilot training school in the 1940s.
The planned developments are attracting interest, said developers on Thursday.
Aviation Development Group, building 41 hangars at Chino, has every one of the spaces already reserved.
"We didn't believe that 41 hangars would be chewed up so fast," said Brad Henderson, a partner with Aviation.
Part of the demand for the hangars is fueled by space and Chino's location, Henderson said.
"I think there is still huge growth potential for Chino," Henderson said.
Clendenen Development is building 17 hangars at Chino Airport and expects to sell at least seven of the hangars and may lease the others, said owner Brian Clendenen.
Lack of space in Los Angeles and Orange counties has forced more pilots out to the Inland Empire looking for storage space, he said.
"If you own an aircraft and want to rent a hangar, go find one. You can't," said Clendenen, who estimates a majority of the people buying his hangars are from Orange County.
Chino's access to the 71, 60 and 91 freeways will also attract people from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Clendenen said.
Selling and leasing hangars in the aviation industry is a lucrative business because people want to protect their plans, which are valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Clendenen said.
"We are probably the only real estate industry that is recession proof," Clendenen said. "You're dealing with people that have a lot of money."
And Chino Airport may not be done growing. County officials are completing an airport master plan for the facility which would guide development for the next 20 years. The airport has room to grow on the western, eastern and southern edges which are primarily empty fields.
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