Article by: Laura Ruane

For the full story visit: News-Press

Southwest Florida International is close to landing a new aviation tenant for its Skyplex commerce park north of the runway.

An Illinois-based contractor and developer with close connections to Chicago-O’Hare International is a key player in the plan, which would erect at least one hangar big enough to house a Boeing 747-400 wide-body jetliner at the south Fort Myers airport.

In aviation jargon, the occupying business would be an MRO – a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility – with cargo and certain fueling services also possible.

A tenant like that not only would bolster Lee County Port Authority revenues: Airport officials note it would bring new high-skilled workers into the area and fatten the community’s tax base.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Ben Siegel, port authority deputy executive director for administration.

The developer couldn’t be reached to comment on Thursday. However, port authority staffers shared the lease with the Airports Special Management Committee the preceding Tuesday.

The citizen-advisers sitting on that committee endorsed the plan, also with comment. Here’s what is known:

Lee County commissioners, sitting as the port authority board, are expected to make the final call on the lease on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Plainfield, Illinois-based Pentagon Partners LLC proposes to lease about 7 acres of unimproved land and nearly 4 acres of aircraft apron on the northeastern side of the airfield.

The lease would begin Feb. 1 and initially run to Jan. 31, 2021.

Pentagon Partners would have options to extend the lease by a total of 40 years.