Rethinking Hangars: Manufacturer Erect-A-Tube promotes new designs, airport ownership

June 8, 2004


Rethinking Hangars

Manufacturer Erect-A-Tube promotes new designs, airport ownership

By John F. Infanger

June 2004

HARVARD,IL — Randy Kirk, sales manager for Erect-A-Tube, amanufacturer of aviation hangars for some 40 years and based here,points to a recent development at El Cajon, CA, as evidence thathangars don’t have to be the basic structures they have been historically. Kirk also says there are financing opportunities in the marketplace for airports to bring new hangar complexes to their airfields. At El Cajon, CA, outside San Diego, Erect-A-Tube teamed up with La Jolla Investments to create a hangar/living complex comprising 26 buildings. “Eventually, this will catch on elsewhere,” says Erect-A-Tube sales manager Randy Kirk.

Central to Kirk’s position is that his company can serve as facilitator to bringing new hangar complexes to airports.”Let’s say an airport needs new hangars but doesn’t know how to pay for them,” he explains. “What if we came in and facilitated that for the airport, and figured out how we can help them do it themselves?”

The answer to the question, he relates, can be Erect-A-Tube helping to find an interested third-party developer, or helping the airport figure out how to finance the hangars itself in a way that brings in more revenue.

“We can invite a developer to come in and do it and leave with the profits,” he says. “The airport is happy because it has tenants; however, a lot of money has left the airport.

“Let’s say you want a ten-hangar complex and it’s going to cost $250,000 to build — $25,000 a unit. If the airport did it and issued 20-year prepaid leases for $30,000 a unit, the financing is all taken care of by the pilots.

“The pilots get the right to use the space and the right to sell the lease. They pay a land rent and are in charge of maintenance. The airport owns it.”

Regarding new designs, Kirk points to a $2 million, 26-building complex recently completed at Gillespie Field in El Cajon as an example of new thinking. Developed with La Jolla Investments, the buildings include hangars, offices, and living quarters, although no one is permitted to live there full time, says Kirk.

“Some buildings have round roofs, some have gabled roofs with towers. We’ve got people who weekend there, others have offices there. Eventually this will catch on elsewhere. We’re working with others on the same type of concept,” says Kirk.