Big ideas are taking flight in Glendale as the city continues its work to make the airport’s surrounding area a hotspot for new developments.
About 75 acres of undeveloped land lay on the eastern side of the Glendale Municipal Airport. For the last three months, the city has been conducting a market study on the property to determine the best use of the land and how to market it to potential developers.
The study is anticipated to conclude by the end of September.
The study comes after a discussion among city officials about hiring a real-estate broker to spread the word of the land to developers last year.
“It’s very exciting for the airport because we have a lot of growth happening in that part of Glendale, and to develop the east side of this airport that’s been there for 30 years is very exciting,” said Trevor Ebersole, Glendale’s transportation director. “We have a tremendous opportunity here to let that area flourish.”
Built in 1986, the airport has served as one of numerous reliever airports in the Valley.
Since its development, large entertainment and sports stadiums nearby put a spotlight on the airport as a hub of transportation and activity.
The airport’s location, near the Westgate Entertainment District, Camelback Ranch and the Arizona Cardinals’ University of Phoenix Stadium, signified a prosperous future for the runway, one in which city officials imagined it being used frequently by private and corporate jets and smaller commuter aircraft.
However, due to the economic crash of 2008 and a lawsuit between the John F. Long Properties and the city, operations declined to about half of what the city projected.
John F. Long Properties donated some land for a second runway, but when the plans were tossed out the case was taken to court.
With time, the business and the city were back on good terms, the economy recovered, more people began utilizing private flights and the airport slowly bounced back.
The small airport now sees roughly 100,000 takeoffs and landings per year.
With business booming, expectations to keep it that way from the city are sky-high.
“As far as the Glendale Airport out here, we are probably one of the best-kept secrets in the Valley,” Mayor Jerry Weiers said during aviation week in August.
But the city hopes to share the secret with the rest of the world.
The market study will play a key role in determining what sort of developments will keep people flying into the area and inject new money into the local economy.
At this point in time, Ebersole said, the city is open to varying constructions including commercial office space, retail, hospitality, residential space, aviation and aerospace developments.
Ebersole added that when deciding on the appropriate construction, the city will be “keeping in mind the limitations set by FAA regulations, anticipated public infrastructure and proximity to existing market offerings.”
With a month of research still ahead of the city, it is unknown what new developments may be introduced to the area.
And while there is still some uncertainty, Ebersole said it is still a thrilling time for the airport and the city as a whole.
“A mile of roadway will only take you one mile, but a mile of runway can take you anywhere in the world. This is an exciting time, I think, for everyone,” Ebersole said.