An aircraft manufacturing company is ready to move to Provo and may soon find its home near the city's airport, economic development officials announced Tuesday.
During an Airport Board meeting, Mike Vanchiere and Albert Kanahele of the Provo City Economic Development office announced that the city has one customer who is ready to move onto the site."It's premature to say who it is, but it is compatible with the airport," said Vanchiere, project manager.
The city plans to develop almost 70 acres east of the existing terminal area at the airport for aircraft-related industry. The city is looking to develop a park similar to the East Bay Business Center based on the success that East Bay has had.
The interested company plans to construct a 100,000-square-foot facility, which will be the first phase of the park, still unnamed. All utilities are already available in the proper sizes and configurations.
Kanahele said the company is interested in a long-term situation and would most likely lease the property for 20 to 25 years. The company plans to hire 250 skilled workers, most from the local area.
"We are excited about it," Vanchiere said. "We think development will begin shortly. This company will be the Novell of the airport. Once they locate here, we believe there will be an influx based on interest."
All land in the airport business park would be leased for industrial/-commercial activities compatible with airport operations. Lease money would provide needed revenue for the airport.
Kanahele said companies such as General Dynamics and Northrup have also expressed interest in shifting parts plants to Utah.
The announcement came as part of the Airport Master Plan discussion at the board meeting. Airport Manager Jim Mathis outlined the plan for board members.
He said CH2M Hill, in association with Civil Engineer Consultants Inc., spent two years working on the master plan. "It represents months of documented study and is well thought out and a realistic plan. It's a little conservative, but it's flexible."
The plan takes into consideration historic data, inventory and existing facilities to determine the future demand at the airport.
Mathis said the study showed that the airport has economic vitality and strength to support continued growth in the general aviation sector, but it is not feasible to have a scheduled airline service at the Provo airport because the Salt Lake City International Airport is so close.
The plan shows that fewer airplanes make the Provo airport their home, but aviation activity is up. Takeoffs and landings increased 4 percent in 1988. The airport is still below its peak capability.
The airport has also experienced a shift from lighter aircraft to heavier multiengine aircraft.
The plan says the airport is an economic asset to the Provo area and generates an estimated total annual economic benefit of $22 million.
As a result of the plan, consultants recommended that the airport's major runway be extended to 8,600 feet so business jet aircraft can use the facility. Additional exit taxiways are also needed to enhance the ground flow of aircraft to and from the airfield and terminal areas.
Mathis said improvements are ongoing at the airport. A $350,000 taxiway rehabilitation program was recently completed and the Federal Aviation Administration is installing an automated weather observing system in the next month.
The plan says the airport's 20-year development program will cost approximately $7.4 million. About $5.5 million will come from a federal grant, $280,000 from a state grant, $340,000 from private investors and $881,000 from city funds.
Mathis said a lot of city dollars are involved because of needed infrastructure at the airport for future development.
Board members were in favor of building a business park at the airport because it would generate enough funds to put the airport budget in the black.
The airport had an operating deficit of $88,400 in 1988 and will have about a $90,000 deficit in 1989. That will increase 5 percent each year if no additional income is generated, Mathis said.
"We need to utilize the total land resource. It will take us out of the red and put us into the black if we generate our own funds."