The McKinney City Council has given City Manager Jason Gray the authority to make an offer on George Schuler’s assets at Collin County Regional Airport. Tuesday evening, the council voted to allow Gray to move forward in the city’s negotiations with Schuler, who currently owns several of the buildings at CCRA. The potentially multi-million dollar purchase would see the city purchasing Schuler’s buildings and taking over his existing lease agreements with the airport’s current tenants.
This move is the next step in the City of McKinney’s plan to obtain total operational control at CCRA. According to Mayor Brian Loughmiller, purchasing Schuler’s assets is necessary to continue the growth of CCRA. “The sellers put this opportunity in front of us a few months ago,” Loughmiller told TownSquareBuzz.com. “We have an obligation to investigate it because we have a significant economic interest at the airport already.”
“This is being initiated to help us build what we think the airport can truly be.” – McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller
The city’s current economic interest at the airport consists of owning the land, but the city is now pushing to own the buildings as well. “We consider the airport an economic engine for McKinney,” Loughmiller said. “This is being initiated to help us build what we think the airport can truly be.”
Loughmiller said that Gray will now continue negotiations for purchase of the airport’s buildings. “We have given Mr. Gray the authority to make an offer, consistent with the terms we have discussed,” he said.
If an agreement is reached between the city and Schuler, Loughmiller said the terms of the airport deal will be discussed in open session at a forthcoming city council meeting. Loughmiller said that during the open session at council, Gray will present the terms of the airport deal and where the money for the purchase will come from.
Loughmiller said that there could be a council agenda item on the airport deal as soon as the Sept. 3 council meeting. “It’s going to be a fairly quick timeline,” he said.
As TSB reported last week, the city is also in negotiation with Cutter Aviation about the fueling operation at CCRA. Loughmiller confirmed those negotiations and added that the city is “not trying to put anyone out of business.”
Loughmiller said that the negotiations with Cutter Aviation are not specific to whether the city completely owns the airport or not. “It’s more about what is a reasonable contract term for the sale of fuel, whether it’s through a third party or through the city,” he said. “It’s incorrect to suggest that the only reason that we’re doing this is that we don’t want Cutter at the airport.”
Loughmiller said that the city offered an extension of Cutter’s lease at the airport as part of the negotiations. Cutter’s current lease is due to expire on October 31. “As part of the negotiations with Cutter, there was an offer for Cutter to continue in a transition period of approximately nine months,” Loughmiller said. “That consisted of extending for three months at current terms and for six months at adjusted terms.”
But Loughmiller said the city is prepared to handle the fueling operations at CCRA should the negotiations with Cutter prove unsuccessful.
Loughmiller said that that city’s goal is to create a single point of airport management to help attract corporate aviation to CCRA. “Ultimately the fueling operations and the revenue from that is part of the return on investment from the airport,” he said. “The ability to lease hangars, sell property, and sell fuel would make us very attractive to corporate aviation.”