Private sector confidence grows in MidAmerica’s role as a Midwest import/export hub
MASCOUTAH, ILL., Nov. 30, 2010… MidAmerica St. Louis Airport today announced that private investment will fund the construction of a new cargo building at the airport. The project is being led by John G. Hewitt, a Wall Street veteran whose career includes more than a decade at both the New York Stock Exchange and Goldman Sachs, and helping Knight Securities to become the biggest trading firm in the world.
At a special meeting of the St. Clair County Public Building Commission held yesterday afternoon at MidAmerica, the Commission approved the leasing of 26.4 acres to Hewitt’s company H-Trading. The site is adjacent to the Boeing manufacturing building and will have direct access to airside airplane parking. The lease terms require a cargo building of at least 62,500 square feet to be completed on the site by the end of the second quarter of 2011. The facility will be 20 percent larger than the airport’s original cargo facility recently taken over by Boeing. While the exact specifications will impact the final cost, it is estimated that the building will represent an investment in the range of $4 million to $6 million.
Over 20,000 square feet of the new cargo building will be for perishable processing and all of the chiller equipment previously purchased by St. Clair County for its original building will be reinstalled for use. With the completion of the new cargo building, MidAmerica Airport will once again be the only airport north of Alabama with on-Airport ramp access for perishable processing. This capability not only allows for the import of perishable goods, but also is critical for the potential export of Midwest beef, pork, poultry and fish.
“Today marks the most significant milestone yet in our efforts to grow the international cargo operations here at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport because this new facility will be built with private money,” noted St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. “Key international trade routes are already proven, and the unmatched convenience of this airport with its exceptional highway access and uncongested location in the heart of the country make it an ideal location for both the import and export of a wide variety of goods. We’re confident that this project will be good for John and his fellow investors and good for St. Clair County.”
Hewitt, who attended the meeting to officially sign the lease, stated that he sees tremendous potential for MidAmerica Airport’s future. “The MidAmerica Airport can become a vital component of the China Hub,” noted Hewitt. “We see this business opportunity as transformational and one that will be enormously beneficial for the entire region. We are excited to be part of this business building effort.”
St. Clair County is committing $250,000 to the project, in acknowledgement of the lease hold provision that gives building ownership back to the landlord (the airport) after the lease period. The terms of the deal include an initial lease term of 13 years at no cost for the land due to the upfront investment being made by the team headed by Hewitt, followed by options for two, five-year extensions at fair market value.
The building will be constructed just northwest of the current cargo facility that Boeing is using. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already granted increased cargo ramp space adjacent to the site to be installed in the summer of 2011, by which time the building is expected to be operational.
In the interim, the Public Building Commission has approved the installation of a temporary building that is being erected by the passenger terminal to meet the needs of the various partners that are planning additional test flights in the coming months.
In other recent news, UniGroup Worldwide, Inc., a global mobility management company headquartered in suburban St. Louis, Mo., chose MidAmerica Airport as the location for one of its recently established Customs Brokerage Offices. UniGroup is the first major transportation company to offer this specialized Customs Brokerage Service in the coordination and handling of shipments for household goods and high-value products.
About MidAmerica St. Louis Airport
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is located in Mascoutah, Illinois, in the eastern portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Major multimodal rail and inland port centers are located within 22 miles of the airport, which also enjoys easy access to five interstate highways via I-64. With parallel runways of 8,000 and 10,000 feet, the airport can handle simultaneous take-offs and landings in all conditions, minimizing delays. It has an annual capacity of 200,000 operations. Tenants include Boeing, which recently announced plans to locate a new manufacturing facility at the airport, as well as AVMATS, a company providing alternatives for the support and maintenance of corporate aircraft, which has been operating at MidAmerica for over seven years. MidAmerica is a Joint Use Airport partnering with Scott AFB, the home to US Transportation Command, a multi service organization, and Air Mobility Command, the USAF’s component command for airlift. MidAmerica and the 375th Air Mobility Wing operate Scott AFB/MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. For more information, visit www.flymidamerica.com.