By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
When the federal government turned the former Williams Air Force Base over to the now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority, it was an expansive 3,000 acre parcel well away from the major population centers of greater Phoenix.
Over the past 25 years, what is now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has become the center of a thriving and rapidly-expanding East Valley. More than 1.5 million people now live within a 20-minute drive from the airport. The growth of the facility and surrounding area has spurred a significantly heightened drive for development.
Last month the Authority took a deeper leap into that development stream when it received clearances from Federal Aviation Administration to develop 700 acres of prime real estate near the airport. The FAA’s Finding of No Significant Impact and Record of Decision for the Environmental Assessment for the Northeast Area Development Plan was the next step in creating what will become primarily commercial and office space.
“Unlocking the northeast side of the airport for development is great news for Gateway Airport and the East Valley,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles, current Chair of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority Board. “The opportunity for high-wage job creation in this area will benefit the entire region and strengthens the airport’s role as an economic driver.”
According to an article in the Phoenix Business Journal, the airport’s continued growth, from 2.2 million passengers at present to a projected 7.2 million in 20 years, also has PMGAA contemplating the creation of another terminal, but no firm plan is currently in development.
There are currently more than 50 companies located within the airport’s boundaries, employing more than 2,500 people.
Regarding plans for the new development, J. Brian O’Neill, A.A.E. Executive Director/CEO of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority said, “We would like to thank our partners at the FAA for their commitment to this important project and their continued support of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. We look forward to engaging both public and private sectors to transform this incredible asset.”
In August of last year Mesa Gateway was awarded a $9M FAA grant to replace more than 1MSF of concrete in its North Apron area, which was created in 1941. The project’s $10M price tag includes a grant match from the Arizona Department of Transportation and PMGAA. According to the original announcement, the replacement is planned for completion late this year.
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