Hangar project will go forward

SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2009

Architects to assess state board’s loan cut

A proposed hangar and the 266 jobs that would go with it remains a priority for Spokane International Airport, Director Neal Sealock said Friday, a day after state officials balked at awarding the project all of a $6.8 million construction loan.

The Community Economic Revitalization Board instead came through with $4 million, a commitment Sealock called a “catalyst” that will enable the project to go forward.

Whether in-whole or in-part may depend on what architects tell airport officials Thursday, when three finalists for the design work are interviewed, said airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

The hangar’s estimated cost was $11.6 million, with the airport kicking in $1 million and prospective tenants Cascade Aerospace and Associated Painters $2 million each.

Woodard said the prospective architects will be asked how the project’s costs might be reduced or, in the alternative, how it might be built in phases.

“It will be interesting to see what comes back,” he said, adding that airport officials hope to have the architect selected and fee negotiated before the June 17 board of directors meeting.

Cascade already employs 60 in a refurbished hangar, with plans to hire 40 more by year’s end.

Woodard said Spokane is an attractive location for Cascade, based in Abbottsford, B.C., and Associated, based in Everett, because airlines would be able to take planes out of service, roll them across the airport for maintenance and paint, and put them back in service with no waste of time. Neither company can do that from their headquarters, he said.

“A plane only makes money when it’s in the sky,” Woodard said.

Click here to comment on this story »