Trouble at the Aerotropolis?

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by SHELLY, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    Geez...no one saw this coming :roll:

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    EDITORIAL: Airport in a fog
    August 24, 2008 08:00:00 AM

    The new Panama City-Bay County International Airport in West Bay has always been a matter of faith. The public has been asked to trust officials to peer into the future and accurately gauge the facility's economic viability.

    However, right now they're having difficulty seeing the end of the runway.

    It was hardly reassuring to hear Airport Authority Vice Chairman Bill Cramer announce last Tuesday that he has "some very grave concerns about the financial health of this project" after members continued to disagree over the length and composition of the runway. In July, the board voted 4-1 to build an 8,400-foot concrete runway, which will cost (in the short term) $5.3 million more than an asphalt surface. Cramer dissented, arguing that the board should not make a decision on the runway until it had more information on other airport costs.

    Last week, the board discovered that bids for the terminal building came in $14 million over what had been budgeted. Cramer said that higher price tag, combined with still-unknown costs of other airport features, now makes the concrete runway unfeasible.

    In July, Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis said final bids for the terminal construction might provide a cash cushion for spending a higher amount on the runway if the winning terminal bid comes in significantly lower. Oops. Back to the drawing board.

    How were they off by so much?

    Meanwhile, Lynn Haven-based Phoenix Construction is continuing to pressure the Airport Authority to commit one way or the other on the runway. In July, owner James Finch insisted that the board choose then between concrete and asphalt, before the costs of materials and gas increased the price tag. Now he's given members a February deadline to decide if they want to extend the runway to 10,000 feet - at an additional cost of $4.5 million.

    Why is there so much uncertainty over the runway this late in the game? Officials decided eight years ago to build a new airport in West Bay. Construction has begun on a facility that is scheduled to open in 2010. And yet, officials are still haggling over what kind of runway they want or need, in addition to being in the dark about other expenses.

    As Airport Authority member Gerry Clemons (who voted for the concrete runway last month) said Tuesday, "There is something wrong with this picture."

    Indeed. Airport officials promised us a Rembrandt, but so far they have delivered "Dogs Playing Poker." :cool:

    Many large construction projects wind up costing more than initially forecast, due in part to the significant lag time between planning and building. The price of materials, labor and fuel increases, and often unforeseen delays (weather, permitting, etc.) push back the timetable and add dollars. So it won't be surprising if the airport's originally estimated price tag of $331 million winds up being higher. Officials wisely have maintained a contingency reserve fund, which recently increased by $4 million when they scaled back landscaping plans. The question is whether it will be enough.

    Plants and shrubs won't be the only things being pruned from the budget. Board member Rick Koehnemann suggested that "value engineering" could be used to reduce the cost of the terminal building. At this rate, that might involve erecting a Quonset hut.

    To have the board's vice chairman question the economic viability of the airport, at this stage of the project, turns on yellow lights that could land a 747 in a fog bank.

    The Airport Authority's focus on the big picture down the road - developing an "aerotropolis" and attracting major air carriers flying large planes - won't be taken seriously if it can't get the smaller things right at the beginning.

    http://www.newsherald.com/articles/airport_67654___article.html/fog_.html

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  2. GoodWitch58

    GoodWitch58 Beach Fanatic

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    I saw this news story over the weekend. about time someone starting putting on the brakes....
     
  3. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    There are some big questions here.

    Why is Phoenix construction involved at all?
    Why is the cost of construction going up as fuel costs go down?
    Is it going to look like this soon?
    [nomedia]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql744tSfnXM[/nomedia]
     
  4. AAbsolute

    AAbsolute Banned

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    A question for those educated in business...

    Does this benefit LUK who purchased the old PC Airport?
     
  5. bentley williams

    bentley williams Beach Fanatic

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    Par for the course when a project this big is controlled by a podunk local governement. Ever heard the Bay County BCC meetings on WFSU 90.7? They make our meetings sound like an international think tank. They will get what they want in the end even if it takes longer.
     
  6. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Nope, because they have to vacate the land to a new and finished airport before LUK can get it's hands on the old property.
     
  7. AAbsolute

    AAbsolute Banned

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    So did they already pay for some of the old airport or is it an option?
     
  8. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    My understanding that anything paid is basically earnest money.
     
  9. 00seer00

    00seer00 Beach Lover

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  10. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    00see,

    Went to the website you linked:

    (1) Article said: The construction of the new airport is on schedule with paving of the runway to begin in 12 weeks. With over 40 million cubic yards of material moved since the beginning, still much work is to be done - obviously.

    I’m not telling you anymore, you’ll just have to watch the video after the break.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    (2) Clicked on video, but this statement popped up: SORRY. This video no longer exists.

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    (3) Scrolled to bottom of website and saw this: Disclaimer: The author of this blog has an active Florida real estate license. The author hereby does not guarantee the accuracy of any and all information contained within this site. Furthermore, the author’s opinions are just that, opinions and may have no factual basis.
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    So if this is the "Other side of the Coin," it's apparently a slug.

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  11. 00seer00

    00seer00 Beach Lover

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    Other side of the Coin

    You might want open the link another with computer, your computer must have a filter setting stopping any positive news.
     
  12. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    :floor:

    The video works for me.
     
  13. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    I watched it, the only concern I have is the completion date keeps changing. When this whole thing started it was supposed to be complete at the end of 2009, now it's 2010.
     

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