McKinney City Council heard a recommendation to move forward with a proposed bond to expand the McKinney National Airport for commercial services at its Jan. 17 meeting.

The proposed project includes adding a new terminal, taxiway and other infrastructure that would support commercial passenger service at the existing airport. The facility currently only operates general aviation services, including fuel sales, flight school lessons and hangar leases. The project is estimated to cost about $300.7 million, but the bond committee is only pursuing $200 million to be approved by McKinney voters, according to the recommendation from the citizen bond committee.

The recommendation was presented during a city council work session by committee spokesperson and former McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. The committee, composed of 30 members of the community and surrounding area, recommended moving forward with calling the $200 million bond election, according to Loughmiller.

“We felt comfortable that that number ... is sustainable from the standpoint of debt service capacity, the potential for future bond elections that may be necessary for additional growth in other areas of the city ... [and] the ability to retire debt going forward,” Loughmiller said.

The committee came to this conclusion after three meetings in fall 2022 where committee members received presentations from city staff and consultants about various aspects of the project, including finance, environmental impact, airport operations and more. The bond committee took into consideration the funding sources that will pay the remaining $100 million gap in the project cost, such as grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, when deciding on their recommendation, Loughmiller said.

“The bond committee as a whole believes that this project is a viable project for the city of McKinney,” Loughmiller said. “We feel like the timing is right to do this now.”

The McKinney City Council is expected to take action on the proposal at its Feb. 7 meeting.

During the City Council meeting later that evening, council members gave the green light to a separate project at the airport. Council approved an agreement for Griffin Swinerton, a development firm, to contribute to phase one of an expansion project on the west side of the McKinney National Airport. The $23 million project includes the addition of a new 40,000-square-foot, $18.5 million hangar and a new 3,500-square-foot, $4.5 million federal inspections station to house U.S. Customs staff, according to city documents.

“I think it's something that we need, the facilities are needed. We can afford the project and it's very much in line with highest and best uses of the airport,” McKinney National Airport Director Ken Carley said.

The partnership comes after airport officials initiated a request for qualifications process in which they sought out a partner with which to develop these projects. The agreement includes predevelopment of the project by the developer, and reimbursement for the costs from the city up to about $3.2 million, according to city documents. The projects come as a result of high demand at the airport for hangar space by companies looking to store aircraft, according to Carley. The new hangar is expected to generate about $1 million in annual revenue for the airport, according to city documents.

“The hangar that we're proposing to develop is hands-down the highest-revenue producer per acre that we have today,” Carley said, referring to an existing hangar at the airport.

The first phase of the project, including about 80% of design services to be executed by the developer, is expected to be complete in July 2023. The remaining design and estimated 12-14 month construction process will require city approval to proceed later this year, according to a presentation given at the meeting.

Check out the upcoming McKinney January edition of Community Impact for more information on the McKinney National Airport bond proposal.