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Airport hopes new property attracts aviation-based business

by Andrew Bell | June 22, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Airport Director Paul Mehrlich, left, speaks to the Texarkana, Ark., Board of Directors on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, about the resolution authorizing the Airport Authority to purchase 8 acres of land adjacent to Texarkana Regional Airport. The purchase was approved unanimously. (Photo by Joshua Turner)

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Texarkana Regional Airport is hoping to attract an aviation-based business to lease a piece of property that was just approved for purchase.

During a regular meeting on Tuesday, the city Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the Airport Authority to purchase 8 acres of land adjacent to the airport from Plainfield LLC for $82,000.

The property is an undeveloped wooded area. It is located on the south side of the airport between existing airport property and East 19th Street.

Airport Director Paul Mehrlich said by using federal coronavirus funds and offsetting the purchase cost from other property sales, the city can acquire the land at no cost.

"The reason we're interested in this property is that it joins existing airport property and would act as a bridge to existing Chamber of Commerce property," Mehrlich told the board. "We built a new taxiway for the new terminal building that goes right along that area. It would make this a prime piece of real estate for us to go out and market to try to bring in a maintenance repair or cargo company."

The director said a business in that spot would be able to utilize the airport's taxiways and runways, but also would have easy access to Interstate -49.

"Our hope is to bring jobs to the community, as well as create a new tenant at the airport," Mehrlich said.

Mehrlich and City Manager Jay Ellington both conveyed that this purchase is a key part of the airport's overarching plan.

"The idea is it would be developed, and then we would enter into a ground lease," Mehrlich said. "The way it works is the airport retains the ownership of the property, and any structure that's built on the property after a period of time -- usually around 40 years -- becomes the property of the airport, so hangars and things like that inevitably become the airport's property.

"And in the future, that allows us to rent those back out at a building rate."

Mehrlich also provided an update on the new airport terminal under construction, saying the expected opening date is in summer 2024.

photo The 8 acres of land the city of Texarkana, Ark., intends to purchase is outlined in red in this satellite image. The property, bounded by existing airport property and East 19th Street, carries an $82,000 price tag. However, the city will be able to acquire it at no cost through the use of federal funding and cost-saving measures. (Google Maps)

Print Headline: Airport hopes new property attracts aviation-based business

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