The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority voted Monday to approve a 40-year concession for development and airfield operations at the airport.
Aviation Facilities Company Inc./AvPORTS (AFCO) won the exclusive right to develop and manage the airport. The firm provides management-related services at nine airports around the nation. AFCO is active at 25 airports.
AFCO officials acknowledged the Gary arrangement is unique because it includes off-airport property development as part of the deal.
After last Monday's meeting, AFCO Executive Vice President Steve Forrer said the company is focused on the goal of attaining $10 million in investment in the next 18 months as called for in the agreement.
He also said the airport's $166 million runway expansion will remain a priority. He said all contractual relationships with the expansion will be vetted in the next three months.
AFCO will have the exclusive right to develop real estate on and around the airport within the Airport Development Zone for the next 40 years. AvPorts has a 10-year contract with up to 30 years of extensions to run the airport.
The deal requires AFCO to find investors willing to put $25 million into the airport during the next three years or the Airport Authority can cut the length of the deal in half. If the $25 million does not arrive within five years, the Airport Authority can terminate the deal.
AvPorts will be paid $120,000 per year for operating the airport using the Airport Authority's current budget. AvPorts also will share in profits if the airport turns one.
The Airport Authority retains ownership of the airport and oversight of development decisions under the agreements inked last Monday.