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Sunday, Mar 29, 2015

Airport building lease on agenda


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The list of companies interested in leasing the vacant Brooksville Air Center facility at the airport went from three to one this week after American Aviation dropped out of the running.

But that doesn’t make the remaining suitor, Corporate Jet Solutions, an automatic shoe-in.

County Commission Chairman Dave Russell said the board needs to see the Clearwater company’s financials to make sure it is a viable candidate. It also has to meet the previously agreed-to qualifications.

“Let’s hope it does,” Russell said. “Let’s hope they can continue to demonstrate good faith and be able to prosper in that location. But there are minimum standards that must be met and those are codified.”

The board will meet at 2 p.m. today to discuss the matter and review a recommendation made by Aviation Authority members at their Thursday meeting to grant the company a lease, subject to stipulations.

The particulars of the lease will be discussed at today’s meeting. Commissioners will likely discuss a bankruptcy filing last year of Corporate Jet Solutions’ vice president Bradley Dye.

John Petrick, president of American Aviation, said in a letter to Russell that his company retained a consultant while preparing the application package and, based upon the findings, withdrew its proposal to lease the former air center as a location for its expansion.

Instead, Petrick said American Aviation, the airport’s only fixed-base operator, will pursue “more appropriate avenues for our company’s continued growth.”

“This (consultant’s) report also confirms our concerns regarding the expedited nature of the proposal process, the completeness and viability of other submitted proposals, and the impacts on the county, airport, American Aviation and the community of attempting to support two fixed-base operators at an airport the size of Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional,” Petrick wrote.

Petrick said he welcomes the opportunity to work with the county and Aviation Authority on future economic development at the airport.

Another company, Jet ICU, originally expressed an interest in the vacant site but never submitted a formal application.

Located at 15421 Technology Drive, the facility includes an expansive airplane hangar and administrative building, encompassing some 25,000 square feet and both with easy access to the runway.

The air center, which sits on county-owned property, became available after it went into foreclosure. The bank held a foreclosure auction with a $1.5 million bid, but there were no takers.

The county hired an appraiser to determine the property’s value and offered a contract for $1.25 million. That deal closed in April.

The public is invited to attend today’s special commission meeting which begins at 2 p.m. at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.

(352) 544-5290

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