The city of Sherman is poised to more than double its capacity for based aircraft at Sherman Municipal airport thanks to an agreement with a private developer.

The Sherman City Council approved a development agreement with Skytrust, LLC for the development of three, seven-unit hangar buildings at the airport in the coming months. The addition of new hangar space comes following renewed interest in the airport in recent years, and moves by the city to support redevelopment.

“Hangars were the number one requested improvement at the airport according to the master plan,” Sherman Director of Finance Mary Lawrence said.

In 2019, the city drafted a master plan for the airport that set time lines for the addition of new amenities at the airport. Following the approval of the plan, the city initially planned to pursue just one hangar immediately, with future development hinging on growth and demand.

Skytrust, LLC is owned by Marius Meintjes, a developer who has expressed interest in building a new residential aviation community on the outskirts of the airport with homes featuring attached hangars and tie-down space for aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Skytrust will finance and build three hangars inside the foot print of the airport.

The city will retain ownership of one of the hangars, and repay Skytrust for its construction expenses over the course of the next eight years using revenue generated by hangar rentals. Skytrust will retain the remaining two hangars and be able to rent the space through a long-term ground lease.

The city will regain ownership of the hangars after a 30-year lease, and two, five-year optional extensions.

“The proposal that was presented by Skytrust was outside the box thinking, to say the least,” Nate Strauch, Sherman Community and Services Manager Nate Strauch said. “The proposal brought forward was so unique and attractive to the city for a variety of reasons.”

City leaders agreed to solicit proposals for the development of hangar space in late 2019, with no formal plans to move forward with development. Instead, city manager Robby Hefton said at the time that the city instead wanted to test the market and see what developing the space might cost. Ultimately, the city received seven responses.

Strauch said the city will have no direct cost under the contract, but will use a $50,000 grant through the Texas Department of Transportation to support the project.

In order to support the project, the city will need to construct a third apron for the additional hangar. The city plans to construct the apron using city crews and will provide the asphalt for the project.

The city initially expected to construct only one hangar, in part due to constraints on the airport fund, which would finance the project. With funding now resolved elsewhere, Strauch said the airport fund could be used for other airport improvements, but said it was too early to speculate.

Strauch said that the city was overwhelmingly in support for the agreement as it set them ahead of schedule for development at the airport with little expense. While it will not receive revenue from the hangars, the addition of new space was the real goal for the city, he said.