Missouri Airport Development Proposals to Be Unveiled

St. Clair County leaders today are expected to announce a bevy of new development proposals for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, the county-owned airport that has struggled to turn a profit.

"Here it comes," Airport Director Tim Cantwell said. "We've been working on this for a long time."

Airport officials today are scheduled to announce:

Designs for a 38,000-square-foot Illinois National Guard armory on the east end of the airport. The armory will house a new 114-soldier unit aimed at providing homeland security.

A private developer who's agreed to lease more than half of the airport's new 50,000-square-foot cargo terminal. The developer also has plans to construct industrial support facilities, such as truck maintenance and repair, adjacent to the cargo building.

Plans for a hotel, conference center and office park that would be built along Interstate 64 to provide lodging and meeting space for people using MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

"Anything that comes along and spurs other development is great for us in Mascoutah and great for the whole region," said Mascoutah Mayor Gerald Daugherty. "I'm excited to hear about it even though I didn't know much about it."

The federal government has already set aside the funding to construct the new Illinois National Guard armory, Cantwell said. It's expected to cost between $6 million and $8 million and will house a new National Guard unit designed to address biological and chemical threats.

"That's what we're looking at, but we still have to perform a feasibility study," said Chief Warrant Officer Bud Roberts of the Illinois National Guard.

The Illinois National Guard will lease 15 acres from MidAmerica Airport to build the armory. In exchange, the unit will pay St. Clair County about $6,500 a year in rent.

Leasing space in the cargo building will be a little more profitable, Cantwell said. Private developers leasing 26,000 square feet of space at the airport's cargo building will pay the county between $70,000 and $100,000 a year, he said.

The county also would receive funding for any land leased for a hotel, conference center or office park, although those details have yet to be released. Cantwell on Tuesday also declined to release the name of the private developer until the formal news conference today.

The news conference today is the third in the past seven months, the second this month alone, announcing new tenants coming to MidAmerica Airport.

TransMeridian Airlines, of Lithia Springs, Ga., last fall launched charter passenger service to Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla.

Allegiant Air LLC, of Las Vegas, earlier this month announced it will offer scheduled passenger service to its Nevada home starting next month.