The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority approved a 40-year public-private partnership Jan. 27 to develop and operate the lightly used airport 30 miles away from downtown Chicago.
The deal gives Aviation Facilities Company (AFCO) Inc. of Dulles, Va., exclusive rights to develop and manage the airport. Further, the deal gives AFCO the authority to develop the property surrounding the airport.
“This is a partnership to maximize a Gary asset, for the benefit of Gary and all of Northwest Indiana,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said just before the vote, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana.
AFCO has pledged to inject $25 million into the airport over the next three years, according to Airport World. If the $25 million in investment fails to arrive in the first five years, the Airport Authority can terminate the deal.
Over the next year, AFCO must develop a plan for attracting an additional $75 million in investment over the next 40 years to present to the Airport Authority.
Additionally, the agreement calls for a $300,000 investment in workforce development.
“The decision to move forward with the public-private partnership shows great insight and forward thinking on part of the airport board,” Mayor Feeman-Wilson said to Airport World. “The P3 is a monumental opportunity for the airport and its surrounding footprint to be developed, creating sustainable opportunities for the city of Gary, its businesses and citizens as well as surrounding communities.”