Com­pany to build hangars in ex­change for ac­cess

Air­port board ap­proved agree­ment Thurs­day; City Coun­cil will con­sider it on Tues­day

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MELISSA GUTE Melissa Gute can be reached at mgute@nwadg.com or on Twit­ter @NWAMelissa.

BEN­TONVILLE — An air­plane man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany is plan­ning to build more hangars at the mu­nic­i­pal air­port to gain ac­cess from its prop­erty to the taxi­way.

Game Com­pos­ites, de­signer and man­u­fac­turer of GB1 Game­bird aer­o­batic and tour­ing planes, op­er­ates at 3201 S.W. I St., just west of the south end of the air­port’s run­way. The com­pany wants ac­cess from the back of its build­ing to the west side taxi­way.

Steuart Wal­ton and Philipp Stein­bach founded the com­pany in 2013. Lone­some Tree Prop­er­ties, also con­nected to Wal­ton En­ter­prises, owns the land un­der Game Com­pos­ites.

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­quires “through-the-fence” agree­ments when pri­vate prop­erty own­ers want ac­cess to an air­field that’s funded with govern­ment money.

The Air­port Ad­vi­sory Board ap­proved an agree­ment Thurs­day. The spe­cial meet­ing was called so the agree­ment could go be­fore City Coun­cil on Tues­day.

Game Com­pos­ites and Lone­some Tree will deed 1.7 acres to the city and make sev­eral im­prove­ments for the air­port in ex­change for a 40to 45-year ground lease and ac­cess to the air­port’s taxi­way, ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment.

“We haven’t got­ten all of that ne­go­ti­ated out yet,” Chad­wick said about the lease.

More spe­cific agree­ments will be cre­ated and go through the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Air­port Ad­vi­sory Board and City Coun­cil in the “near fu­ture,” he said.

Game Com­pos­ites can be­gin work on an 194-foot taxi­way that will con­nect the apron on the back of its

build­ing to the west taxi­way if the City Coun­cil ap­proves the agree­ment Tues­day.

“They want to get started on the taxi­way so they can have a taxi­way be­fore win­ter weather hits,” Chad­wick said.

Those doc­u­ments also will give the city own­er­ship of 1.7 acres on the south end of the Lone­some Tree prop­erty.

The city will lease that land — now part of the air­port — back to Lone­some Tree Prop­er­ties and Game Com­pos­ites who will be re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing a seven-bay hangar as well as an­other taxi­way from the hangars to the south­west cor­ner of the west taxi­way within three years, ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment.

Those are some of the im­prove­ments that will be made in ex­change for the ground leases and air­port ac­cess. Other im­prove­ments in­clude fenc­ing and se­cu­rity gates around Game Com­pos­ites.

Richard Ham, Ad­vi­sory Board chair­man, said he’s re­cently had two friends tell him the No. 1 rea­son why they haven’t bought their own planes is be­cause there’s no place to store them in North­west Arkansas.

Chad­wick said there may be a pos­si­bil­ity for more hangar space south of the ones Game Com­pos­ites plans.

Part of the land deeded to the city will in­clude a strip that ex­tends west so ac­cess to South­west I Street can be de­vel­oped.

De­vel­op­ers build projects, in­clud­ing hangars, they own on air­port land leased from the city. Any im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing build­ings, made on city prop­erty be­come the air­port’s af­ter the lease ends.

Leases used to be 45 years, but that changed at the be­gin­ning of this year. Now they fluc­tu­ate based on the amount of in­fra­struc­ture the de­vel­oper builds for the air­port.

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