Tenants being pursued for airport spec building built in 2001

Posted: Feb. 18, 2013 10:44 am Updated: Mar. 11, 2013 11:14 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Tenants continue to be sought for the 40,000-square-foot spec building on the east side Quincy Regional Airport, which has not been fully used since being completed in 2001.

Phil Conover, interim president of the Great River Economic Development, has been actively approaching companies about potential uses and remains optimistic that a tenant will be found for the only building in the 55-acre Baldwin Field Business Park.

"I've been in touch with some people in the aeronautics industry about maybe moving some aviation-related businesses to this area, which could also utilize this building," Conover said. "We also do have some private interest in the building that we're looking into."

Conover also would like to see the Federal Aviation Administration loosen some of its restrictions to enable the $900,000 building to be used for economic development outside of aviation interests, "but they like to keep it aviation useful."

The building is owned by an limited liability corporation with three principal partners: GREDF; Continental Cooperative Services-Soyland, an association of Illinois electrical cooperatives; and Effingham industrial development company Agracel Inc.

All three partners contributed $100,000 for the cost of constructing the building. The Adams Electric Cooperative invested another $100,000, and the Rural Adams Development Corp., a consortium of banks, invested $500,000.

While the city of Quincy and Adams County did not fund the construction of the building, the county spent $300,000 upgrading the township road leading to the business park and the city spent $160,000 toward the $400,000 needed to build a taxiway and apron for the site. The state provided $240,000 for the taxiway and apron.

Interim Airport Manager Jeff Steinkamp said the airport's fixed base operator, Great River Aviation, has leased space on occasion to store planes. But the fallout from the Sept, 11, 2001, terrorist attacks hurt the aviation industry and limited possible tenants.

"It killed similar projects all over the country, and then when you get momentum going, you have the recession like we had in 2008," Conover said. "Then you have another real estate pullback in 2010. When you add that all together, it makes it difficult."

Corporate Airlines, which eventually was renamed RegionsAir, announced it would establish a maintenance base at Quincy Regional Airport in 2004 to become the first tenant. Company officials at the time envisioned as many as 30 employees at the facility.

To support the facility, the state provided an additional $278,000 to extend a sewer line to the industrial park and another $243,000 in incentives to support the relocation of the aircraft maintenance operation.

However, the maintenance facility never became a reality and the airline stopped offering flights out of Quincy in 2007.