Pipe project starts development of Will Rogers airport's east side

Crews have begun utility work along Portland Avenue, which will ready the 1,000-acres for future development for aviation, nonaviation and retail business.

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 By: Jennifer Palmer Source: The Oklahoman
airport's east side, crews have nearly completed a $5 million project to realign and strengthen with concrete the easternmost taxiway so it can handle larger aircraft. The airport also extended another taxiway to within 300 feet of the existing Portland Avenue and designed it to go across Portland and 100 feet on the other side to accommodate aviation businesses that need runway access.

Kranenburg credits the success of two businesses that currently have operations on the east side — ARINC and Atlantic Aviation — with generating interest in the project. “Because on an airport, activity breeds activity,” he said.

ARINC, an aircraft modifications company based in Annapolis, Md., opened its first Oklahoma City hangar at Will Rogers in 2005. Last summer, the company added a second hangar, bringing its total hangar space to 145,000 square feet.

After securing two big Department of Defense contracts to upgrade KC-10s and KC-135s, the company is again in expansion mode.

Michael Young, vice president of ARINC Aerospace, the Oklahoma subsidiary of ARINC, said the operation just received approval to double the size of its ramp to accommodate the new production programs.

ARINC Aerospace is also adding workers and hopes to increase its staff by over 200 by early next year, Young said.

“If business continues to grow and expand, we would look to add a third hangar,” he said, adding that it would probably be two years or more.

Fixed-base operator Atlantic Aviation, based in Plano, Texas, opened its $6.5 million facility last summer, with a 29,000-square-foot hangar and 12,000-square-feet of office space.

Retail opportunities

Oklahoma City councilman David Greenwell, who represents Ward 5 in south Oklahoma City, said the development at the airport is an exciting opportunity to add more shopping choices for residents and reduce retail leakage to areas like Moore.

It complements the performing arts theater Oklahoma City Community College is building on the opposite side of Interstate 44, the new owners' plans for Crossroads Mall and retail opening up and down May Avenue, he added.

“It would be a destination point, more like a village than a strip center or mall,” he said.

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