12/31/04 — Construction nearly complete on Duplin hangar

View Archive

Construction nearly complete on Duplin hangar

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 31, 2004 1:59 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Construction is nearing completion on a hangar that the county is building for Jet Techs LLC at the Duplin County Municipal Airport.

It will have 10,000 square feet of hangar space for maintenance work on airplanes and an additional 3,000 square feet of office space.

Airport Manager George Futrelle said representatives of the Matthews Family Properties asked the county in May 2003 to build the hangar. In June, he said, the request was made officially in writing.

County Manager Fred Eldridge went to the airport with his assistant, Judy Brown, Finance Officer Teresa Lanier and County Attorney Tim Smith to figure out how best to go about it.

"The county owns everything out here," said Futrelle of the airport. The county officials agreed it would be better to build the hangar to suit the company and then lease it. It involved more "hoops to jump through" and took longer to do it this way, said Futrelle.

The county manager negotiated a "triple net" lease, said Futrelle. The county is leasing the building to the company for 20 years, and the company has agreed to pay the property taxes, which would come to about $900,000 a year. Jet Techs will bring money into the county by providing full-service maintenance and repairs on propellor- and jet-driven planes.

The Local Government Commission approved the financing in February 2004. The county budgeted $904,000 for the building project, including a contingency fund. The Global Transpark loaned $600,000 of it at a 3.5 percent interest rate. The other $304,000 was to come out of the county's coffers.

"We budgeted a little more than we thought we'd need," said Futrelle.

County commissioners held a public hearing on the lease in April and another public hearing in May about the financing of the project.

On May 7, the contract was signed with the general contractor. Dixie General of Wallace won the contract out of seven bids. The high bid had been $768,000. Dixie General offered to do it for $615,000.

"They're a good contractor to work with," said Futrelle.

In June, the state issued a permit for water and sewer service to the building.

On Aug. 18, construction began. The job had been planned for a Dec. 16 completion date. But the company had several weather-related delays.

Futrelle said he hopes the hangar will be finished in time for a 10:30 a.m. grand opening to be held in conjunction with the airport hosting the Feb. 8 meeting of the N.C. Aeronautics Council, which oversees the state Division of Aviation.

"I feel we can do it," said job foreman Justin Pitstick.

Pitstick said that planes "will be able to taxi straight into the building -- just like Jiffy Lube for airplanes."

The building will also have a kitchen, a flight planning area, a conference room and a shower.

The parking lot will be paved next week with 10 spaces, an eight-foot fence, cameras and a coded security gate.