CEDAR RAPIDS — Prospective tenants of the Cedar Rapids Land and Air Super Park will be able to negotiate longer, more attractive lease terms because of a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The city of Cedar Rapids asked the federal agency to change the designation of 489.7 acres of land at the Eastern Iowa Airport from aeronautical to non-aeronautical use. The Cedar Rapids Airport Commission, which operates the city-owned airport, had used FAA funding to buy the three tracts of land as private owners made it available for purchase.
The Super Park was certified as development-ready in July 2015.
Debi Durham, Iowa Economic Development Authority director, hailed the FAA decision this week after a 45-day public comment period ended Feb. 8.
“The FAA’s approval essentially removes federal restrictions and marketability limitations that would otherwise hinder our efforts to attract investment to the site,” Durham said.
The Super Park land is located along 76th Avenue SW, the northern boundary of the airport.
A parcel of privately owned land at the southeast corner of 76th Avenue and 18th Street SW also will be available for development as part of the 582-acre Super Park.
“We can allow investment-level development to drive the lease terms,” Airport Director Marty Lenss said. “Investors need to be able to capitalize a large investment over a longer period of time.
“It took a little over 12 months to get it done, but it will help us become a little more aggressive on what we can try to attract and develop. Hopefully it will help us land that first deal.”
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Lenss said making the land available for development as a business park will help the airport meet an FAA directive to become as financially self-sufficient as possible.
“Our airport is fortunate that we are completely self sufficient,” Lenss said. “We don’t receive any property tax dollars from anyone in Eastern Iowa. We don’t receive in general fund contribution from the city or county.
“All the revenues we generate at the airport stay at the airport and are invested in the asset. By diversifying into non-aeronautical development, we will generate a long-term, revenue-producing stream from rent payments that will help us be more aggressive on our rates with the airlines.”