Developers of upscale aircraft hangars at Minden-Tahoe Airport believe the project might serve a new market - Silicon Valley companies that want to base their corporate aircraft beyond the reach of the California taxman.
Valley Construction Co. of Reno will begin construction this month on the first phase of the project known as Piñon Aero Center. Ralph Smith, executive vice president of Valley Construction, said the contract is valued at $4.6 million, and the builder will serve as construction manager of future phases of the project.
The 33,274-square-foot first phase will include seven hangars that also can be improved to include office space, said Anders O. Field Jr., a spokesman for the developer, Piñon Aero Center LLC. Utility and other infrastructure also are included in the first phase.
When the project is built out, plans call for about 100 hangar suites on an 87.5-acre parcel at the southwest edge of the airport. Timing of additional phases will be based on sales, Smith said.
Field said the project is expected to tap a strong demand among aircraft owners in the area.
"It's a very substantial market. There currently is no hangar space available in northern Nevada and northern California," he said.
The developer expects to draw buyers for the hangars from owners of private aircraft from Douglas County, Carson City, the Reno area and Lake Tahoe and Truckee in California.
Another potentially large market, Field said, is represented by large Bay Area companies that currently base their corporate aircraft at Stockton or other Central Valley locations, sending them to San Francisco-area airports when they're needed.
If those planes instead are domiciled at Minden-Tahoe Airport, the companies can reap substantial tax advantages, Field said.
He said the development company believes those savings outweigh the cost of additional flight time between San Francisco and Minden.
The company hasn't announced pricing for the hangars, which will range in size from 50-by-50 feet to 100-by-100 feet.
From the front, the project's architecture and design in earth tones is designed to be similar to that of a business park, Field said. Aircraft doors on the back of hangars will open into patio-like areas with space for several aircraft, and the patios will lead to taxiways.
As Piñón Aero Center is developed, Field said the project also will offer tie-downs for transient aircraft. The developer hopes to strike a deal to build a facility for a fixed-based operator who could sell fuel and provide other services to general aviation aircraft at the airport.