For the second time in a year, officials with North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field are considering adjustments to the airport’s lease rates for improved and unimproved land. The move comes following adjustments in November 2017 that were made as part of negotiations for leases that were approaching their end.
Robert Brady, chairman of the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority, said the RMA is considering the adjustment after it received some questions and concerns about the new rates and how they were determined.
“We want to be fair,” Brady said following Thursday’s meeting. “We said from the get-go that we are not trying to gouge. We are not trying to treat you differently from this person, but we also at the same time understand we are in the business of making money.”
To come up with the new rates, Brady said the RMA will be working with consultants with JGK Engineering over the next few months to determine the rate. Consultant Jim Kirschbaum spoke briefly on the topic, and other funding measures, during Thursday’s meeting, noting the study should be done within two months.
Prior to the new rates, officials said land-lease rates were as long as one cent per square foot for remote, unimproved land at the airport. In order to set the 2017 rates, officials with management firm Texas Aviation Partners compared the existing rate to that of comparable rates in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and other rural areas. Officials at the time noted NTRA is difficult to compare due to its proximity yet distance from the Metroplex.
“Everybody will tell you that all airports are different and we took that into consideration,” Brady said.
The new rates did see some opposition in late 2017, notably from Rod Tatchio, who represents N.T. Aviation. At the time, Tatchio said he would be forced to raise the rate he charges his tenants from the low $200s per month to nearly $400.
Brady said the first tenant that was approached with the new rate questioned its accuracy and asked for the information the NTRA used to set the rates. From this information, the prospective tenant created their own lease rates that were about 65 cents lower than the approved rates.
“They had taken that information and basically cherry-picked airports and came up with their own rate study,” Brady said.
This culminated in the creation of a third study, conducted by board member Randy Hensarling, that favored the rate set in November.
Brady said he believes the conversation on the revised rates was started by Tatchio. During the November talks, Tatchio proposed that he could perform his own rate study and present the results to the RMA.
In addition to the rate study, Brady said the consultants will be assisting with other projects at the airport including work on a ramp grant, property map for the airport and creating a list of projects that could be pursued using the nearly $600,000 that NTRA has accumulated through its funding from the Texas Department of Transportation.
The discussions on setting a new lease rate come during a period of growth and activity at the airport and a point where the majority of the existing hangar space is occupied, officials said Thursday. Airport Director Bob Torti said the last 48 hours had been especially busy as Torti was visited by a prospective tenant on Tuesday who expressed interest in multiple pieces of property.
“We’ve been through this before with people who are smoke, but this guy was legit,” Torti said.