Enterprise Committee approves airport hotel deal

By IN reporter Sean Boone

After nearly two hours of discussion over the potential lease agreement between the airport and Sandspur Development on Monday, the City Council Enterprise Committee ultimately decided to approve the 11.44-acre agreement with the developer after an alteration to landscaping and sewer details in the contract was made.

The agreement gives Sandspur a 25-year exclusive right to construct a hotel on airport property and a 50-year first option on any future developments.

It also ensures the city $24 million in total investments on the property and an annual $100,000 in city sales tax.

During the meeting, several developers and citizens voiced concern over the appraised value of the property–which was assessed at just over $6 million.

Developer Jim Cronley said the appraisal was based off of a much less valuable piece of property on 12th Avenue and that the city could have made more money on the lease if they had went through a request for proposal (RFP) and allowed multiple bids for it.

“That may be the most valuable piece of property the city has,” he told the committee. “I promise you, if you put out a bid, you would get 25 percent or more than this deal. I guarantee it.”

Councilman Mike DeSorbo made the initial motion to approve Sandspur deal after stating it would damage the credibility of the city if it was turned down since council had already made an agreement on how the property was to be used.

The motion was approved after a separate motion by Mike Wiggins to postpone the decision to a further date was voted down.