The Midlothian city council approved an infrastructure incentive agreement for the expansion of a company housed at Mid-Way Regional Airport at it's Tuesday meeting.
The exact amount of the incentive agreement has not been determined but was estimated by be about $307,500 for the city of Midlothian, said city manager Chris Dick, though the amount has gone down some as planning continues. The city of Waxahachie approved a matching grant at it's council meeting Monday. All of the council members except for Ted Miller voted to approve the agreement.
The company, Airborne Imaging, Inc., has outgrown the space it currently occupies at the airport and is looking to expand operations, he said. The company wants to build a 38,000 square foot hangar/office building on 2.4 acres and add two new full time employees to their current staff of 10. The company tests flying equipment for U.S. Department of Defense contractors and fly missions for system developers, NASA, the U.S. military and the private sector.
The expansion would mean a ground lease to the airport of approximately $31,000 a year for 30 years, according to information presented the council.
The agreement would provide funding for access entry drive and the extension of water and sewer lines, but lenders do not want to loan Airborne Imaging, Inc. money public infrastructure, Dick said. The item will come back to city council again before the loan is approved, he said.
The airport will benefit from the infrastructure because it will open up more areas on the south side of the new hangar for future development, said Judy Demoney, airport manager.
“We would also have a shovel-ready area ready to develop,” she said. “It makes it more accessible for development.”
The move would also empty a hangar and allow the airport to accept new business, Demoney said.
“I am currently talking to a company that has other aircraft that are interested in taking over that hangar when Airborne vacates it,” she said. “Not only would we be retaining our biggest customer, we have the opportunity to have this other company.”
The money would come from the city's general fund, Dick said, which is currently on schedule to be more than $1million dollars this year.
“Timing doesn't allow it to be included in the next budget,” he said. “For what they bring to the airport, we won't go bankrupt over this.”
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