September 28, 2009
Governor announces $3.5 million in state incentives to substantially upgrade Kansas City Downtown Airport
Gov. Nixon breaks ground on downtown airport terminal, hangar project that will create 94 new jobs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today visited the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City and announced that the state is awarding $3.5 million in economic incentives for construction of a new terminal building, hangars and other facilities at the site. The applicant for the funding, the city of Kansas City Aviation Department, is projecting that the Hangar Ten project will create 94 new jobs.
"We are committed to using state incentives strategically and effectively to create jobs and boost economic development in Missouri," Gov. Nixon said. "An upgraded Wheeler Downtown Airport has the potential to serve as an exciting tool for economic development for Kansas City and the entire region, resulting in new jobs for hard-working Missourians. I am pleased that the state of Missouri is playing an important role in getting this pivotal project off the ground."
The City of Kansas City had previously invested large sums of money to improve the runways and hangars at Wheeler Airport, but still needed additional upgrades before the site was considered an airport-related facility. An airport-related facility is defined as having a hangar, a facility housing a terminal and office space containing conference facilities, customer and pilot lounges, a flight planning area and overnight rooms.
Due primarily to poor soil conditions, inadequate utilities and Federal Aviation Association regulations, the project became encumbered with approximately $3,500,000 in unexpected costs that threatened to cause significant delays in completion.
James Stowers III, owner of Hangar Ten LLC, agreed to donate $7 million to the Missouri Development Finance Board in exchange for $3.5 million in economic incentives under the Tax Credit for Contribution Program, enough to defray the outstanding costs and allowing the project to move forward. Under the agreement, Stowers will serve as the developer and build the new terminal building, fueling facilities and hangars and lease them from the City of Kansas City while paying the city's standard ground rent, flowage and landing fees.
The MDFB gave final approval to this agreement earlier this morning, clearing the way for the project to move forward.
"It is becoming increasingly rare to find large U.S. cities with serviceable airports in the heart of downtown," Gov. Nixon said. "As companies turn more and more to private aircraft and charters to do business, a significantly upgraded Wheeler Downtown Airport will be perfectly situated to take advantage of an array of exciting economic opportunities, to the benefit of Kansas City and the state of Missouri."
The Tax Credit for Contribution Program, administered by the MDFB, is designed to assist in the funding of capital improvement costs for qualified public facilities and public infrastructure projects in Missouri. The Board is authorized to grant tax credits equal to 50 percent of a contribution from any taxpayer. The contributed funds are granted to local governments, state agencies or used by the MDFB to finance infrastructure improvements needed to facilitate an approved project.