Hangar construction at the Rifle Garfield County Airport.

County leases airport hangar space to local business

February 18, 2022

Garfield County has leased space at the Rifle Garfield County Airport to a local business to build and operate hangars for at least the next 20 years, in an agreement that includes the option for two additional 10-year renewals. GarCo Premier Hangars has proposed constructing a five-unit hangar in the airport’s east development area, which covers roughly 20,400 square feet, and is planning to build a second such facility in the near future.

“The Rifle airport is underutilized with hangars, and this is something the community can use,” said Dan Guggenheim, part owner of GarCo Premier Hangars. “Phase one includes five units and phase 2 will entail three to four units. … What we’re catering toward is what the airport needs and what will be good for the short- and long-term future of the Rifle Garfield County Airport.”

The county has looked to lease open space at the airport for just such development proposals. The concept plan earned Board of County Commissioner (BOCC) approval in March 2021 and plans for the commercial operation were accepted a month later. Phase one of the project is slated to begin in April and construction is estimated to take four months.

“Our vision is for a multi-phase development of hangar units that will specifically be zoned for commercial and private use, ranging from single-engine piston and jet-prop aircraft to small and mid-sized jets,” GarCo Premier Hangars’ letter of intent states. “Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the units will be sold and/or leased individually and managed under one condominium association.”

The base term of the agreement spans from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2041, and the two approved extensions would run to Dec. 31, 2061. If conditions are met, a third five-year lease extension could be accepted through 2066. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows airport leases of up to 50 years maximum.

Rent for the hangar areas is $16,457 annually and will be adjusted annually. The lease rate can also be adjusted to market rent pricing after the initial 20 years.

The board has also approved a concept plan for leasing parcel A-4 to GarCo Premier Hangars, which plans to construct four additional hangars. That lease is also set to expire on Dec. 31, 2066, if the extensions are requested and meet the qualifications. The lease rate for this parcel is $.281659 sq. ft., with a lease parcel size of 48,300 sq. ft. for an initial land lease rate of $13,604. The A-4 final development plan will come before the board in the coming months for review.

Condie added that other entities have shown interest in leasing space on parcels A-1, A-2, A-5, A-6, A-7, A-8 at the airport.

“We will probably be coming back to the board shortly with more requests for hangar leases at the airport,” he said. “When they show up with a concept plan for the board, we will lease those out as well.”

The GarCo Premier Hangars lease contract was approved unanimously, 3-0.

“As we’ve studied this over the years, this is a need that is going to become more prevalent,” said Commissioner Mike Samson in his support. “All the money we’ve put into the airport is paying dividends. I would love to see even more commercial activity out there.”

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