Houston City Council approves 30-year Spaceport lease for FlightSafety

Mario Diaz, Houston Airport System executive director, talks about the Houston Spaceport during a groundbreaking ceremony June 28.

Mario Diaz, Houston Airport System executive director, talks about the Houston Spaceport during a groundbreaking ceremony June 28.

A flight simulation company will soon lease land in Phase 1 of the Houston Spaceport.

On Sept. 18, Houston City Council approved a 30-year lease agreement with FlightSafety International Inc. The company will relocate and expand its location near the Hobby Airport to the Ellington Airport, site of the spaceport, with an aeronautical training facility.

Under the lease, FlightSafety will pay at least $16 million to build a 90,000-square-foot building with 10-12 flight simulators and a parking lot with room for about 200 vehicles, all on a 269,808-square-foot piece of land.

In addition, the company will have access to another 176,934-square-foot tract adjacent to the first that it can expand to in the first five years. If FlightSafety chooses to do so, its original facility could be expanded to house 16 flight simulators, according to city documents.

After its first year of operation, FlightSafety will pay $80,942.40 per year in rent to the city of Houston, and that amount will increase 15% every five years. Additionally, at the beginning of the sixth year of rent, the company will pay a maintenance and operations fee equal to 10% of its rent to cover airport infrastructure costs, according to the documents.

District E Council Member Dave Martin, who represents the Clear Lake area—which includes the Houston Spaceport—commended city and Houston Airport System officials for getting a company into the spaceport.

“What we all know is ... Ellington is not your grandfather’s Ellington,” he said. “It’s a new generation.”

Phase 1 of the Houston Spaceport is underway, which includes installing roads, power and water lines and other infrastructure to attract aerospace companies to a portion of Ellington Airport. The city’s goal is to one day make the spaceport the site of commercial supersonic flights capable of delivering passengers to far-away destinations in a fraction of the time it takes today.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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