Ontario Airport Air Traffic Controller William Stephens monitors aircraft as they maneuver around the airport and sky above. (File Photo)

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 04/29/17 – 4:28 PM PDT |

ONTARIO >> What should Ontario International Airport Authority commissioners do with 147 acres east of the airport?

That question still remains even after the airport authority held a special meeting Thursday night in part to discuss that topic.

Before big decisions can be made:

• The authority has to complete an appraisal.

• The Federal Aviation Administration must deem the property surplus

• Authority staff has to analyze the transfer agreement with Los Angeles World Airports to ensure there are no conflicts.

At its March meeting, CEO Kelly Fredericks, asked commissioners how the OIAA should handle developer inquiries into the 147-acre property, located east of Haven Avenue and commonly referred to as “the boot” because of its complex boundaries.

On Thursday, Fredericks recommended that the authority consider selling the 147 acres through an auction.

“We were tasked with coming back with a recommendation, and we feel it’s in the best interest to work with the FAA, and have them deem the property surplus,” he said.

The authority must also complete an appraisal of the property because it can only be disposed at fair market value, Fredericks said.

Staff began to receive unsolicited interest in the 147 acres not long after taking local control of Ontario in November, Fredericks said.

LAWA purchased the property without Federal Aviation Administration grant funds, so there’s no encumbrances — or reimbursement associated with grant funds, he said.

Based on a proposal that had a firm and substantial offer, Fredericks started to consider the economic benefits a sale could mean for the airport.

To put it in perspective, one of the conditions of the transfer is that the airport authority pay back $70 million in debt to Los Angeles World Airports. Currently, all passenger facility charges, which generate $8.7 million annually, are obligated to pay down the debt.

“As we continued on the analysis — we had multiple offers — one offer indicated we could not only pay off the debt to LAWA,” he said, “but if we paid off early, now and before the end of the year, the net present value on that $70 million obligation is approximately $50.5 million.”

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