Friday, January 12, 2007

Groundbreaking lease that will set standards for future profit-making ventures

GARY | Gary/Chicago International Airport and one of its oldest tenants are moving forward on a groundbreaking lease that will set standards for future profit-making ventures at the airport.

The airport authority and the Gary Jet Center are now working on rewriting the fixed base operator's 1991 lease in order to tie its rental fees to the revenue it takes in.

"This puts in place performance mechanisms," Airport Director Chris Curry said. "If a business comes to the airport and is profitable, we want to share in those. However, if an event like Sept. 11 happens -- something beyond their control -- we want to consider that too."

Earlier disagreements over the Jet Center's current hangar lease threatened to scuttle a new $4.1 million hangar the Jet Center wants to build.

As the airport's fixed base operator, the Jet Center provides fuel, parking and hangar facilities for private jets. It also operates charters. Will Davis, who produces the Gary Air Show every year, is its owner.

The Jet Center paid the airport about $220,000 in rent and fees last year.

One of the Jet Center's biggest concerns is that any would-be competitors should be held to the same standards and lease requirements, said Richard Hill, a lawyer with Baker & Daniels representing the Jet Center.

"He's willing to compete," Hill said of Davis. "He just wants to compete on a level playing field."

The authority board passed a bonding ordinance for the new hangar project and a lease ordinance to cover both hangars on first reading after a public hearing. Both still must have another reading before approval.

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Abstract from TimesOnline

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