The Fort Worth City Council, acting as the Alliance Airport Authority Board, agreed Tuesday to enter into a 25-year lease on the former American Airlines maintenance facility to GDC Technics of San Antonio.
GDC Technics, a worldwide aircraft modification company, will start leasing the facility March 1, paying $336,050 annually for the first five years. The rent will escalate every five years after that, with the final five years commanding $546,081 annually.
The company said it plans to hire more than 600 employees in Fort Worth over the next five years. Average salaries would be $65,000 annually, said Jay Chapa, the city’s housing and economic development director.The lease would cover the 778,00-square-foot hangar building, a 62,000-square-foot maintenance building, an aircraft wash bay and a parking lot. The City Council will vote on the lease Feb. 17.
In other action, the board agreed to accept the maintenance facility property back. The city is scheduled to resume the facility’s operations on Sunday. feb 1 Councilman Jungus Jordan thanked staff for handling the “monumental feat” involved in taking the property back from American.
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“This is a process that’s taken probably close to two years,” Jordan said. “It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work in protecting the fiduciary duties of the city and protecting the public trust of our citizens.”
Councilman Zim Zimmerman cautioned that the city be careful about entering into a similar lease situation.
“This does point out in our zeal to acquire and provide facilities, we need to be careful that we don’t do what we did with this one and lose control of the whole thing,” Zimmerman said. “That was what really made this a painful and extraordinarily long process. We need to learn that lesson as we go forward and make sure we don’t get ourselves trapped again.”
The maintenance base opened in 1991 and American was to lease the property from the city until August 2028. American merged with US Airways in late 2013. American closed the Alliance facility in early 2013 as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.
At one point, the airline said it had found a firm to takeover its lease, but the deal never materialized. The company then reached an agreement with the city to end the lease and then formally asked the bankruptcy court to reject its lease which was approved in July 2014.