New Aerospace Industrial Park Coming to Tulsa

Apr. 14--Tinker Industrial Developers Tulsa LLC, an Oklahoma City aerospace developer with operations in Tulsa, was selected by Tulsa airport trustees Thursday as master developer for an aerospace industrial park at Tulsa International Airport.

Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust board members directed airport staff to negotiate a development agreement with Tinker Industrial Developers, which built the 30-company Tinker Business & Industrial Park adjacent to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.

Airports Director Jeff Mulder said various airport tenants and area companies have told airport staff about their needs for hangar, office and warehouse space. After considering alternatives, trustees last fall asked developers to submit their qualifications and ideas.

A board committee last month recommended TID over Trammell Crow Inc. and Aeroterm US Inc. of Annapolis, Md.

"We felt TID has a great grasp of the aerospace industry, companies in Oklahoma and at the national level," Mulder said. "The concept is that we will lease property to this entity, which will assemble private capital for tenants.

"We hope within 30 to 60 days to have something for the board to consider."

Mayor Kathy Taylor, attending her first airport board meeting since her election last week, said she is impressed by the Tinker Business & Industrial Park.

"If you haven't seen their development in Oklahoma City, it's worth your time," Taylor said. "It's great to see that they are on this side of the turnpike. They are an exceptional developer."

Warren Thomas, TID's managing partner and CEO of Acorn Growth Cos., an affiliated privately held enterprise development firm, said the Tinker Business & Industrial Park succeeded by clustering similar industries and businesses. Aerospace, telecommunications and environmental science companies are tenants.

"It shows how clustering works toward high-value job creation," Thomas told the board. "Our companies have done $1.5 billion in sole-source contracting with Tinker (Air Force Base) over 20 years. We've never had a vacancy.

"We feel we can take on a project of this magnitude and complexity."

In an interview after the meeting, Thomas said TID's partner on the Tulsa aerospace industrial park is Tulsa contractor Flintco Inc.

"They are steeped in aviation facilities throughout the United States," Thomas said. "We have a wonderful team as far as bringing together business enterprise developers, cluster developers and a facilities contractor.

"At Tinker, the focus is on the military. In Tulsa, the focus will be primarily commercial. Tulsa has 200 companies related to the aviation industry. Our goal is to grasp those companies and their core competencies into an overall cluster."

Among the companies that have advised airport staff about additional hangar, manufacturing and warehouse space needs are American Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems Inc. and L-3 Aeromet.

Mulder said negotiations will involve achievement milestones, time frames and each party's expectations.

Trustees also approved a $27,428.82 purchase order for seating and public area furniture for the passenger terminal's pre-security Cherry Street Cafe, which just opened, and the Food Court, which is under construction. The low bidder was Workspace Resources Inc. of Tulsa.

In March, airline passenger traffic was 277,567 people, a 6.37 percent increase from March 2005. During the first quarter, 709,322 people flew into or out of Tulsa International, up 5.7 percent from the first three months of last year.

"We have seen an increase in passengers in 25 of the last 26 months," said Carl Remus, deputy airport director of finance and administration.

Airport parking revenue last month totaled $610,548, a 32.8 percent increase compared with March 2005. For the first three months, parking revenue was $1.6 million, up 29.8 percent.

The increase in parking revenue is due to a $2-per-day short-term parking rate increase that trustees imposed in November. The rate increased from $6.95 a day to $8.95 a day.

The rate increase apparently has altered customer parking habits, however, staff members said.

Parking activity in March was 68,266 vehicles, up 0.6 percent from March 2005. For the first quarter, activity was 175,383 vehicles, a 0.5 percent decrease from the first three months of last year.

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