WINCHESTER — Winchester Regional Airport wants to purchase 31,000 square feet of hangar and office space to expand the types of aircraft it can house.
The authority on Thursday met in closed session to discuss the acquisition of real estate. Afterward, it approved a resolution to enter into a contract with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association to buy the former ProJet Aviation hangar at 509 Airport Road for $1.25 million. The hangar is 27,000 square feet, with an additional 4,100 square feet of office space, according to Winchester Regional Airport Director Nicholas Sabo.
For years, the airport leased the land on which the hangar sits to ProJet Aviation, an aircraft management and charter company now based in Leesburg. ProJet built the hangar and offices in 2007 for about $3.5 million.
ProJet Aviation CEO and founder Shye Gilad told The Star in 2016 that the company originally wanted to grow its business in the Winchester area, but that proved difficult, especially after the recession. ProJet moved to Leesburg in 2010 and continued to sublease the hangar to various aviation businesses for a few years.
Wells Fargo Bank purchased the hangar and office space in December of 2017, Sabo said.
To get funding to purchase the property, the authority agreed to apply for a loan from the Virginia Resources Authority. Sabo said the application will be reviewed by the Virginia Resources Authority and the Virginia Aviation Board. A decision is expected to be made in August on whether the loan is approved.
The authority will have 60 days to study the land and hangar once the sales contract with Wells Fargo is executed, along with making a $10,000 deposit. This deposit will be refundable, should the airport not receive the loan or if the airport decides to terminate the contract prior to the completion of the study period.
Sabo said the hangar has the ability to accommodate large business aircraft and could hold up to 12 small- or medium-sized airplanes. The authority hopes to lease the hangar after it is purchased. Sabo said the hangar could help attract corporate businesses and operations to the Winchester area.