More than light planes are buzzing at DeLand Municipal Airport this summer.
A new $2.8 million administration building is ready for roofing and interior work ahead of an October grand opening.
The Florida Department of Transportation is funding 80 percent of the cost, with the City of DeLand picking up the rest.
“We look forward to offering more amenities for airport tenant businesses and pilots, as well as more space for airport staff in the new building,” Airport Manager John Eiff said. “Our general contractor, D.J. Haycock, has done a great job keeping us on target and on budget, even with all that recent rain.”
Funding for a new aircraft apron in front of the building involves another $973,000 contract, with the same 80-20 split between FDOT and the city.
The administration building will place airport staff close to the flight line in case of emergencies, and will offer a 76-seat meeting room to airport tenant businesses, and a 24-hour waiting area for visiting pilots.
After the move, the current smaller administration building will be put up for commercial lease, with a sizable list of interested prospective lessees already waiting to bid.
On the east side of the airfield, a contract for initial infrastructure work on the new Sport Aviation Village is due to be awarded soon by the DeLand City Commission, allowing construction to start on access roads and taxiways.
Phase I of this project will bring six new commercial hangars and 21 new small-plane T-shape hangars.
“We’ve got 22 seriously interested businesses for those six new commercial hangars, and 38 private aircraft owners on a waiting list for those 21 T-hangars,” said Jana Filip, the airport’s sport-aviation administrator.
A third of those interested businesses are overseas aircraft builders, another third are Northern aircraft businesses who want to move south where they can build year-round, and the final third are expanding Florida businesses.
New high-paying jobs will come with each of the six hangars, when finished.
Filip is also fine-tuning this year’s third annual Sport Aviation Showcase, slated for Nov. 1-3.
“Last year, just the 800 exhibitors alone put over $750,000 into our local economy, and that doesn’t even count what the 5,000 attendees also spent. We sold $1.3 million of light sport aircraft and their accessories,” Filip said proudly. “We intend to be the highest-quality sport-aviation show in the country, attracting real buyers who can test-fly the planes on display during our show,” she added.
And, the show is destined to be bigger.
“We are working to find more local sponsors as our show grows. This year’s show should be modestly bigger than last year,” Filip said.