Airport Properties Boast Intermodal Access

July 21, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Gerald R. Ford International Airport has a variety of properties available for lease, with specific land uses ranging from industrial to airport commerce to rural agricultural. The airport is home to a 79-acre Foreign Trade Zone, as well.

Joel Burgess, property administrator for the Kent County Department of Aeronautics, has received a number of inquiries about available properties since the airport started a Web site marketing campaign last fall.

“We haven’t had a good amount of development out here in a while, so we tried to put a spark under it and really get the word out on what we have available,” Burgess noted. “The offers aren’t flooding in, but certainly the interest is out there.” 

The thing with airport property marketing is that it’s not just local or regional — it’s a national effort, Burgess said. An out-of-state aircraft company, for instance, may want to locate on airport grounds and build aircraft here. 

The airport has five parcels ranging in size from 10 to 208 acres that are zoned “airport commerce” and are available for non-aeronautical commercial use. That would include general industrial-type activities such as warehousing and assembly, Burgess said. Two additional parcels, one 33 acres and the other 21 acres, are zoned for industrial use. All properties have water, sewer, gas and electric utilities in place. Burgess noted that the foreign trade zone designation for 79 acres of land at the airport can actually be extended to any of the available parcels.

“If it’s a foreign trade zone qualified operation for either warehousing or assembly, we could designate all or a portion of the parcel as a foreign trade zone, which is extremely beneficial,” Burgess explained. The zone has not been activated as yet, but will be as soon as a qualified business shows interest in operating within the zone.

One of the most attractive features of the airport properties is their immediate access to intermodal transportation — aircraft, interstate and railway, Burgess pointed out.

“That’s a huge part of my marketing campaign,” he said. “A company locating here would have access to pretty much any form of transportation it needed.” 

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