Company to build hangars in exchange for access
Airport board approved agreement Thursday; City Council will consider it on Tuesday
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.