Construction will soon begin on a 23-acre development of large aircraft hangars, complete with manufacturing space and ancillary offices, at Mesa’s Falcon Field Airport.
City officials, airport staff and industry stakeholders filed into the historic airport’s Hangar 107 on Jan. 14, for a ceremonial groundbreaking.
The $65 million project will provide 375,000 square feet for aircraft storage and maintenance, light aviation manufacturing and assembly and helicopter operations.
Mayor John Giles, Councilman David Luna, Mesa Hangar Manager Randy Hansen and other airport officials were among the guest speakers.
“This piece of ground on this corner is where the next chapter of this very storied airport is going to take place,” said the mayor. “And where we’re going to take advantage of all of that wonderful technology.”
Davcon Aviation, LLC and Mesa Hangar, LLC are building the phased project on vacant City of Mesa-owned land on the northwest side of the airport.
The six-building project will also include aircraft staging ramps and vehicle parking areas.
Hangars will vary in size, explained Davcon Aviation Managing Partner David Wakefield, and range from 3,600 square feet to 14,400 square feet.
The spaces will feature high ceilings and high, wide doors to accommodate corporate jets and specialized fixed-wing and helicopter uses.
Occupants will also have the opportunity to customize their hangars and offices, Wakefield continued, including adding ceiling fans, sealed floors, mezzanine storage and restroom amenities.
“I believe this is one of the most state-of-the-art aviation products actually being built in the United States right now,” Wakefield told the crowd.
“I truly believe the tenants will be more productive and able to increase profitability,” he continued. “Because of the way we’re building our buildings.”
Wakefield said the new hangars will be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency with insulated walls and roofs, LED lighting, insulated glass, high-efficiency split system air conditioning units, solar systems and battery storage.
Although the historic airport – and major economic engine – does not offer commercial passenger flights, it perseveres is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country.
Falcon Field is the fifth-busiest general aviation airport in the nation, with 300,000 take-offs and landings per year, according to a city economic impact report.
On a typical day, the airfield sees 767 takeoffs and landings and generates $2.2 million in economic impact.
The new high-tech hangars seek to accommodate the airport’s increasing demand for business while offering “significant opportunities” for new and expanding aviation businesses, explained Lynn Spencer, Falcon Field Economic Development projects manager.
“There is a lot of growth happening,” she said. “We’re seeing it happen in our field sales as numbers are going on, and we’re very excited to see what comes from the Mesa hanger project.”
Founded in 1941, as a training ground primarily for the Royal Air Force during WWII, Falcon Field stands as the hub of Mesa’s Falcon Business District.
The U.S. Treasury Department recently designated the aviation field as an “opportunity zone,” an economically-distressed community where new investments could be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
The zones are designed to spur economic development and job creation, according to the federal Internal Revenue Service website.
Because of this, emerging companies and investors can participate in the program.
Airport tenants may fund improvements or other capital needs in leased space with proceeds from an Opportunity Zone Fund investment.
Dell Loy Hansen, Randy Hansen’s brother and an investor in the project, encouraged interested clientele to reach out early.
“The smart thing is to commit now so you can impact the design and make it what you want,” he expressed. “Later, we have to build it and charge people money to fix it because now it’s already built.”
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by April 2021, with the second phase to be finished by November 2021.
The land will be leased from the city for 40 years.