Home » Martha's Vineyard News | Airport Seeks Proposals for Business Park Expansion – The Vineyard Gazette – Martha's Vineyard News

Martha's Vineyard News | Airport Seeks Proposals for Business Park Expansion – The Vineyard Gazette – Martha's Vineyard News

by Arifa Rana

For the first time in two decades, the airport business park is expanding, with bid packages out seeking proposals for previously undeveloped land.
Four lots, ranging from 9,300 to about 140,000 square feet, have been made available for lease in the business park. A request for proposals (RFP) was issued last month by the airport commission.
The lots were made available following a lengthy approval process involving the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Federal Aviation Authority.
They are available for leases of up to 20 years with one 20-year extension. All four are situated on the outskirts of the business park, with the two largest lots bordering Barnes Road near the business park entrance.
The RFP quickly generated interest.
“Altogether approximately 50 RFPs have been taken out,” airport property manager Kevin Brennan told the Gazette by phone Wednesday.
Proposals are due May 20. Mr. Brennan said final decisions are slated to be made at a Martha’s Vineyard airport commission meeting on June 9.
Mr. Brennan described what he said had been “years of waiting to get to this point.”
Created in the 1990s, the 64-acre business park surrounds the airport proper and includes 37 lots, all in use. The park is controlled by the airport commission.
Recently there has been strong demand and a waiting list for leased space at the park, which currently houses an array of Island-based businesses including a gas station, a car repair shop, landscaping, construction and telecommunications satellites. A branch office of the state Registry of Motor Vehicles is located in the park, along with headquarters for the Vineyard Transit Authority.
Mr. Brennan said the four lots became available after the FAA determined it would not be able to use them, marking the first time in 20 years new land has been made available at the airport.
“No new land has ever been leased since that time,” he said. “Until now.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Commission reviewed and approved the expansion plans last October.
Airport commissioner Richard Knabel told the Gazette by phone Thursday that he wasn’t sure exactly what the range of proposals will look like, but he said the airport commission will look to serve the Island business community as much as possible.
“It’s what the business park is for — to support the Island,” he said.
Competition is likely to be high, Mr. Knabel said, noting that some Boston developers had shown interest, although he did not elaborate.
“If there’s that much interest, there’s obviously a lot of competition,” he said.
Mr. Brennan said that the newly available space could offer small Island businesses an opportunity to expand, or move into more business-friendly zoning.
“We’re constantly notified of businesses that are operating out of homes,” he said. “So here’s this opportunity to say . . . if you want to get your business out of your garage, here are opportunities.”
He said Federal Aviation Administration rules and Edgartown zoning regulations apply to any uses at the business park. For instance, he said cannabis grow facilities aren’t allowed under FAA regulations.
“It has to be . . . best use as determined by the airport commission,” Mr. Brennan said.
He said the airport will use a number of criteria in the decision-making process, including financial background, community benefits and the business experience of proposers.
He also said the airport will look at the impact the tenant will have on the business park and surrounding area, noting the MVC raised detailed questions about traffic impacts in its review of the expansion.
“So those are some of the considerations outlined in the RFP that will help us evaluate best use,” Mr. Brennan said.

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