Monday, June 22, 2015

New terminal for ABIA

Hopefully no need for the proposed CTA now that this facility catering to the 1% is being built.

Red McCombs backs construction of private jet terminal at ABIA
By Jan Buchholz
Austin Business Journal
June 11, 2015

A new general aviation complex promising upscale services and design aimed at private aircraft customers is underway at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The $25 million facility is a partnership of San Antonio-based McCombs Enterprises and Million Air Interlink, a Houston-based chain of fixed base operations or FBOs. FBO facilities cater to private plane users.

The privately owned and operated terminal is expected to be completed in September 2016.

San Antonio entrepreneur Red McCombs — one of the major investors behind the development of the Circuit of The Americas racetrack southeast of ABIA — said events such as the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix, South By Southwest, the X Games and other tourism factors prompted investment in the new facility.

“Our belief in Austin and its growth into a top national and international business and entertainment destination drives our investment in market changing ventures,” McCombs said in a statement.

He added that Austin “is long overdue for a world class FBO facility” and said Million Air will provide the level of design and service to make that a reality.

Million Air, which dates back to 1999, operates 29 facilities in the U.S., Canada, South America and the Caribbean.

Currently there are two FBO operators at ABIA, and Million Air officials say their new facility will provide a level of service unavailable to this point.

The complex will include a 17,000-square-foot general aviation terminal, 42,000 square feet of service facilities and short-term aircraft lease space, 82,000 square feet of private long-term aircraft lease space and seven acres of available ramp space capable of serving any aircraft. The terminal will include a contemporary passenger lounge, pilot club, state-of-the-art flight planning room and multimedia conference rooms.

MPA Architects of Austin is the designer. Byrne Construction Services of Texas is the general contractor.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Legal realities

The 381 Agreement for the proposed Central Texas Airport is a ‘gift’ that just keeps giving. The myth that the developer’s failure to meet the June 30, 2014 deadline for the completion of the project terminated the Agreement is debunked by Section 9 (c) which clearly states that action by the County is required to withdraw from its obligation to the project. Seems simple enough. Yet no action has been forthcoming. Why the delay?

Well, here’s the legal reality. In addition to the termination clause, Section 10 defines the ‘Mutual Assistance’ on which the County and developer have agreed. The language of this Section sets a common goal which in effect binds the County and developer.

Partnerships like that are not so easily dissolved. Just over a year ago the County tried doing just that with another developer who had not met performance deadlines. You can read about it here (the comments contain important information). It’s no wonder the County is reluctant to go down that road again especially considering the close relationship between the developers of both projects.

The blame for this unfortunate situation rests squarely on the Commissioners Court of 2010 (Commissioners Dildy, Beckett, Pina and Klaus with Judge Ronnie McDonald at the helm) that approved this very flawed 381 Agreement. Political expediency and the fantasy of an economic windfall spun by the developer trumped common sense and due diligence. Shame on those responsible for setting this project in motion!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It gets worse

So now we know that the 381 Agreement with Bastrop County is still alive and well, although in a state of limbo. But hold on . . . it gets worse.

Remember the permit that the USACE issued for the project in June of 2013? Well, we recently, learned that it is good for FIVE years! Not from the actual date of issuance but rather at the end of the fifth year after it was granted. That’s December 31, 2018 . . . 4 1/2 years from now. Does that get your attention?

And here’s another twist . . . at any time during the 5 years, the permit can be sold and/or transferred to another party. The only limitation is that it cannot be altered in any way. Any changes to the plan would require re-permitting.

So it’s time for the good citizens of this County to wake up because this airport fiasco is far from over. Note that terminating the 381 Agreement would not terminate the project although it removes a major financial incentive to proceed. Should private funding become available, it could still be built without County involvement.

So we must remain vigilant and continue to oppose this project in any way possible. Let’s start by getting the 381 Agreement off the books.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The undead

At the stroke of midnight yesterday, June 30, the the developer of the proposed Central Texas Airport failed to meet the second deadline for the completion of Phase One of the CTA as required in Section 9 of the 381 Agreement with Bastrop County. It’s been a long four years since the contentious deal was unanimously approved by the Commissioners in June of 2010 and we’ve waited patiently for this day to arrive. But hold the celebration! The termination clause in Section 9 (c) of the 381 Agreement reads as follows:

County may terminate the Agreement in the event that construction of Phase One of the Project in accordance with this Section is not completed by June 30, 2014.

So the 381 Agreement is still alive and well despite the failure of the developer to fulfill the conditions of the contract. Termination of the deal will require action by the County. Will they step up and get this undead thing off the books? Or will it linger in an indefinite state of limbo.

Enough is enough. Time to put an end to this boondoggle once and for all.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Plane Truth

There isn’t much buzz about the proposed Central Texas Airport these days. So why has traffic to this site actually been increasing? Our stats tell us that about 95% of the traffic is coming from bookmarks or links in emails etc. So just who has been visiting us?

A clue arrived in an email from Rose Bridger in the UK announcing her book titled Plane Truth: Aviation’s Real Impacts on People and the Environment. We had no idea how many communities worldwide were fighting battles similar to ours! That could account for the increased interest in the StopCTA site.

Should we find ourselves having to do another round with airport development in Bastrop County, this book could help us craft an even more effective opposition.

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