Could Lubbock use a gas station, restaurant, or hotel on the western edge of Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport? The City of Lubbock says yes and is asking developers to come forward with ideas for commercial development. The city is inviting someone to come up with a plan for 28 acres, much of it in front of the Silent Wings Museum.
Why does the City need it? For starters, it's a chance for the airport to make some money on land it owns but currently does not use.
Public records released Tuesday say, "There are gasoline sales provided by an off-site parking operator... The second closest area for fuel sales is a truck stop located approximately 5 miles south.... "
Hotels and restaurants, similarly, are five miles away.
The invitation to submit a proposal says, "At a minimum, the proposed development shall include a convenience store/gasoline station, and/or one restaurant, which may be a fast food restaurant. Proposers are encouraged to consider retail establishments that reflect the nature and character of Lubbock."
Proposals can also include a hotel.
There are some limits. For example, "The Retail Tract may not be used for paid public parking, or for any Adult Oriented Business."
How much money could this make for the airport? The invitation says the minimum acceptable rental rate is 33 cents per square foot per year. If so that's $402,600 per year in rent. And the city is asking that proposals also include revenue sharing for the airport.
Proposals are due on August 14.
The official documents do not mention the Silent Wings Museum but it stands to reason that commercial development next door would serve to bring more visitors.
Airport Director, James Loomis, says any additional foot traffic for Silent Wings "would be a positive benefit." But Loomis says the real motivation is to keep the airport self-sufficient so that it doesn't need any money from the city's general fund.
"There would also be some benefits for our current tenants," Loomis says. Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport leases space to businesses in the general aviation industry.
Correction: KCBD.com originally reported that the airport could make more than $14,000 in rent. The correct figure is more than $400,000.
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