Dan A. Hughes Co., LP, wants property just north of the airport’s existing control tower for a hangar that will house the company’s aircraft. Montez said that would include at least one corporate jet.
The 500,000-square foot hangar also could be used to keep additional company aircraft out of the weather.
Hughes will provide the BDA with $1,250,000 that will be used to install runway lighting, navigation equipment and make improvements to the runway now in operation at Chase Field.
Bee County’s commissioners earlier granted the Hughes company a tax abatement agreement in return for the investment at Chase Field.
Montez said the improvements are vital for the airport operation. Since the runway opened, the main tenant at the former naval air station, Sikorsky Support Services, has used it for landings and take-offs of large cargo planes delivering and picking up Black Hawk helicopters from Egypt and Colombia.
“We expect that everything will be funded by that contribution,” Montez said of the Hughes investment.
Montez was scheduled to meet with Larry Patterson of Patterson Engineering in Corpus Christi Wednesday afternoon to finalize plans for the installation of new runway lighting.
Patterson has provided extensive engineering services for the BDA over the years and is familiar with all operations at Chase Field. Montez said the engineer already has completed much of the planning work for the lighting system.
“I hope the improvements will make it possible for Sikorsky and other operations to retain and create jobs in this community,” Montez said.
The director said board members also voted to reject bids from Langford and Co. and Barcom for painting of the hangars at Chase Field.
He said the bids, $255,000 and $580,000, were considerably more than what the authority had expected.
The board then decided to give Montez and the existing BDA employees at Chase Field permission to lease the needed painting equipment and do the job themselves.
We can do it for less than $100,000, Montez said.
In addition, BDA board members are expected to approve spending $50,000 in the near future so their organization can be represented in regional economic development efforts.
Montez said that Roland Mowers, director of the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, said that the BDA could obtain a voting seat on the organization’s board of directors by providing $10,000 a year for the next five years.
Montez said the goal is to bring 7,000 new jobs to the Coastal Bend area with some of those jobs coming to Beeville and Bee County.
The regional approach to economic development is what has made the expenditure more attractive to BDA members. Montez said former San Patricio County State Rep. Judy Hawley is the chairwoman of the CCREDC.
“She’s from outside the City of Corpus Christi,” Montez said, “and she’d make sure that the organization is representing all communities in the Coastal Bend Region.”
“We’ll all work together for the benefit of the Coastal Bend,” Montez said. “With the Corpus Christi trying to expand their area, it’s good for us.”
“Judy Hawley has been a good friend to Bee County for many years,” Montez said. Coastal Bend communities have come together over the years to accomplish many things regionally but not economic development.
“In today’s time, if you’re going to be successful, economic development has to be done on a regional basis,” Montez said.
The director pointed out that Monday night’s agenda called for only a presentation by Mowers so no action could be taken approving the $10,000 annual contribution.