OIA tackles potential development of 1,300 acres

Orlando International Airport is looking at the potential of its east airfield for future expansion and overall growth.

 

The Greater Aviation Authority, the entity that oversees the airport, has teamed up with real estate firm Jones LangLaSalle Inc. to look at how 1,342 acres of airport-owned vacant land can be developed in the near future. The land, bought by the airport over several decades dating back to 1986, is prime for developments that cater to operations such as fuel storage, training, distribution and logistics, warehouses or other airport-related needs.

“Our original purpose was to acquire this property to expand if needed and to provide aviation opportunities for support uses that would generate jobs,” Phil Brown, executive director with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, told Orlando Journal. “Our whole intent, which goes back to one of our main goals in economic development, is to use that property to bring new jobs to the airport and generate non-aviation revenue, which accounts for 30 percent of the airport’s [$518.2 million] budget.”

There’s no timeline for when the land will be developed and leased out, but Brown said he is ready to hear proposals. He said the airport constantly is growing and the available land is a major asset for that growth. “They are not making any more land,” he said, noting other airports in Florida are mostly landlocked.

Orlando International Airport is looking at how it can use more than 1,300 acres for future development.
Enlarge
Orlando International Airport is looking at how it can use more than 1,300 acres for future development.
Most of the 1,300-plus acres is useable — roughly 1,100 acres — with the rest designated as wetlands. The land also is near access points for the airport and highway systems that would make it ideal for most users who need to transport cargo or other large bulk items.

The airport also may use some of the vacant land for its own operations, including storage for materials for the $2.15 billion south terminal project, which is underway and slated to be done by 2020. However, one type of development that’s not on the radar is any residential type of project, such as or apartments, as the goal is to use the land to enhance airport operations.

This move coincides with the airport’s already massive growth plans that include more than $3 billion in new development and upgrades. The airport welcomes more than 44 million passengers and counting each year, thanks to Orlando’s $60 billion tourism industry that continues to invest in new attractions, hotels, and other offerings. Central Florida draws 68 million-plus tourists to the region each year.