News from the Griffiss Business and Technology Park


Airport Construction to Begin this Fall

9/3/2008
ROME —

The construction of the building set to house Oneida County airport’s new privatized fixed-base operations should start this fall, local officials said.

C&S Engineers, which has worked on other parts of the airport, will do engineering and architectural work on the $2 million project, said Steve DiMeo, president of Mohawk Valley EDGE, a Rome-based economic development agency for Oneida and Herkimer counties.

The facility is expected to span 9,000 square feet and to be completed by 2009.

“This is going to be a real attractive facility and it’s going to be a nice plus for things going on here at Griffiss,” DiMeo said. “Think of it as if you were walking into a hotel lobby. It will have that kind of feel to it.”

C&S will get about $78,500 for its services on the building. No request for proposals was issued for the project, and C&S was hired by the development corporation because it already was working on an adjacent corporate hangar at the airport, DiMeo said.

Freeman Holdings, a franchisee of Million Air aviation company, has been approved by the Oneida County Board of Legislators to manage fixed-base operations at the airport, now known as Griffiss International Airport in Rome.

The company will have input on the design features of the facility, DiMeo said. Other features will include a lounge, lunch area and conference room, DiMeo said.

Griffiss Local Development Corp. voted late last week to build the facility. That entity, for which DiMeo is an authorized representative, will obtain financing for the construction costs.

Rent paid by Freeman Holdings will cover the cost of the financing, DiMeo said.

The company’s management agreement with the county is for 10 years, with an option to renew for another 10.

In the first five years, under the lease with the development corporation, Freeman Holdings will pay $177,700 per year for the first five years. That price will go up in five-year stages over the course of the next 20 years, assuming the company renews its contract, DiMeo said.

The land the facility will be built on belongs to Oneida County, which is leasing it to the development corporation, DiMeo said.

After the 20-year period is up, the building will belong to Oneida County. Until then, the structure will belong to the development corporation, DiMeo said.

The Oneida County Board of Legislators will vote on that leasing agreement at its next regularly scheduled meeting set for Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Democratic Legislator Frank Tallarino of Rome, a vice chair on the county’s Airport Committee, said he thought the county should have tried to use one of the nose docks left over from when the airport was a U.S. Air Force base instead of constructing an entirely new building.

“You’re going to spend about three times the money and get about half the square footage,” he said.

He added that the buildings were still owned by the Air Force, but said the county could have tried harder to get them signed over sooner.

Legislator George Joseph, R-Clinton, Airport Committee chairman, said the nose docks were still owned by the Air Force because there were environmental issues with the site they stand on.

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