A preflight hamburger and new instruments for the corporate jet are some of the potential offerings at a new aviation business park planned for Quonset State Airport in North Kingstown.
Called Landings at Quonset by developer Alhambra Building Co., the proposed 80,000-square-foot, mixed-use hangar development represents a rare private investment in one of Rhode Island’s five state-owned, and traditionally money-losing, general-aviation airports.
Approved in concept by the R.I. Airport Corporation this past winter, the business park will include up to 40 new hangars for corporate and private planes on what is now 5 vacant acres in the southwest corner of the airport between the Quonset Air Museum and air-traffic-control tower.
Of those new hangars, 10 units along Eccleston Avenue will have retail street frontage for businesses such as flight schools, aerial photographers, food service, charter operators or aircraft-equipment dealers.
“It’s a natural fit and a great spot – with great proximity to resources,” said Joe Crocker, vice president of business development for Alhambra Building Co. “What we are trying to incorporate is the opportunity for people to patronize aviation-themed businesses at the airport without disrupting operations.”
Crocker said the “aviation community” idea is popular in the South, where sunshine makes recreational flying relatively constant throughout the year, but rare in cold-weather New England.
Although it varies depending on the size of the planes, the 40 or so new hangars should be able to hold approximately 70 planes, Crocker said. The hangars without street frontage will have space for offices to accommodate functions like corporate flight teams.
Crocker is looking for a restaurant to join the complex that would serve workers in the adjacent business park, along with pilots or passengers in transit and also cater in-flight meals.
Alhambra is in the process of finalizing a lease with the R.I. Airport Corporation for the 5-acre parcel for Landings at Quonset and, after the development is built, will sublease the spaces out to aircraft owners and businesses.
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