On Jan. 2, the county commission voted unanimously to build another corporate hangar at Apalachicola Regional Airport.
The construction was requested by Ted Mosteller for Randall Terry who wanted the use of a 3,600 square foot hangar larger than existing hangars but smaller than the unrented corporate hangar completed early in 2012. The new hangar will be a metal building on a concrete foundation.
Commissioners voted to build the hangar but not grant Terry a lease on the building.
According to Dun and Bradstreet, Terry is corporate officer and sole employee of TP Transport Broker Inc. of 101 Apalachcee St., west of Apalachicola. TP Transport was founded in 2011 and had an annual income of $43,000.
According to TP Transport’s corporate website, http://tptransportinc.com/no_middleman.php, the company arranges for transport of automobiles and other freight, but does not own trucks.
Airport Manager Ted Mosteller said Terry had wanted to rent the hangar for 20 years at $500 a month. He said the cost of the hangar would be approximately $180,000 and the construction would be completely funded by grant money from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). He said one of the grants needs to be spent by June.
Commissioner William Massey said that the 20-year lease would not pay for the hangar. “There’ll be a remainder of about $80,000,” he said.
Mosteller said the hangar was expected to last for longer than 20 years.
He said Terry would store an aircraft in the hangar and locate the corporate office of TP Transport there. “It basically is a telephone type business,” Mosteller said. Terry currently rents a T-hangar at the airport.
Commissioner Pinki Jackel said she was not in favor of a 20 year lease. Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said she believed the commission had discussed a policy of limiting leases of county property to five years.
Mosteller said the airport committee reviewed Terry’s request and approved the proposed rent. He said they recommended the rent be reviewed in five years. Mosteller said the rent, 14 cents a square foot, is comparable to what is being paid for existing T-hangars and for Garlick Environmental Associates’ corporate hangar.
The Garlick hangar is approximately 10,000 square feet, used for both offices and storage, and rents for $1,600 monthly, 16 cents a square foot. Garlick has a 20-year lease on his solar powered hangar.
“I’m just looking at what may come down the tube,” Jackel said. “It’s possible with the BP money we’ll have some funds to bring in some people who might want to do some manufacturing and create jobs in Franklin County for a more sustainable economy.”
Jackel asked whether Terry would employ anyone; Mosteller said he was unsure.
The commission voted to seek bids for the building but reserve the opportunity to negotiate with Terry further or seek another tenant. Bids for the construction work will be opened in February.
Mosteller said he will use other grant money to purchase a lawnmower and sweeper to maintain the runways. He said he has an additional $15,000 that he proposes to use to construct a shelter over the self-service fuel farm. He said all of these purchases have been blessed by the FDOT.
Taylor Newman, executive officer of Crystal Air, the airport’s new fixed base operator, also addressed the commission Jan. 2.
He said that in spite of a normal reduction of business during the winter, the airport had been busier than anticipated in November and December. He said Crystal Air is planning a fly-in open house in April or May to coincide with the annual National Fly-in held in Lakeland. He said there will be discount fuel for pilots and airplane rides available to airport visitors.
Newman said there are plans to base an airplane available for rental at the airport and resume flight instruction sometime in 2013. He said he has a short-term tenant for the vacant corporate hangar during the month of February. He said Crystal Air plans to hire an additional employee in late spring or early summer.
Newman said Hertz rental cars are currently available at the airport.
In a telephone interview, Jonathan Crisp, who runs Crystal Air’s Apalachicola base, said the company is also in negotiation the Thrifty Car Rentals. He said he is attempting to keep one SUV and several smaller cars available for rent at the airport. The cars must be brought over from Panama City.
Although rentals are available to the public, visiting pilots have priority over walk-in renters. He advised county residents to request a car week in advance to allow him to order it. He said no deposit is required.
Crisp said he has hired a WorkForce trainee. Ethan Wilson, 19, of Eastpoint, will help with grounds maintenance, pump fuel and assist with car rentals for 30 hours a week.