Description: AGENDAHED.JPG

Item No:                    5.A


Meeting Date:           December 17, 2012


From:                          Doug Drymon, Deputy City Manager/Interim Airport Manager


Subject:                      Execution of a Lease Agreement with Wipaire, Inc. for the use of Corporate Block Hangar No. 1 at Leesburg International Airport.



Staff Recommendation:

Staff recommends approval of the Lease Agreement with Wipaire, Inc. for the use of Corporate Block Hangar No. 1 at Leesburg International Airport.



In 2006, the City of Leesburg built three corporate block hangars at Leesburg International Airport.  The floor area of each hangar is 60’ x 60’ or 3,600 square feet.  Each hangar was constructed with a limited amount of electrical service and one restroom.


Wipaire, Inc., with headquarters in South St. Paul, Minnesota (, desires to rent Corporate Block Hangar No. 1 as a temporary facility for their float plane business at Leesburg International Airport (KLEE).  Wipaire is a company with a 50+ year history and annual sales (excluding government contracts) exceeding $30 million that specializes in designing and manufacturing aircraft floats for all sizes of aircraft, from a Piper Cub to a de Havilland Twin Otter.  Wipaire also manufactures AirGlide Aircraft Skis to accommodate snow and ice landings.  The company’s South St. Paul facility is a full service aircraft repair/modification facility, Cessna Authorized Service Station, and Pratt & Whitney gas turbine engine overhaul & repair facility.  Other services provided by Wipaire include aircraft modifications, maintenance, avionics, interiors and painting, as well as complete service for their float products.


Wipaire’s intention is to utilize Corporate Block Hangar No. 1 while undertaking construction of a much larger, purpose-built facility to be located on a vacant section of Airport property.  Possible sites being considered by the company include a four acre tract adjacent to Leesburg Fire Station #63, as well as a five acre tract located off of College Drive.  The facility that Wipaire eventually plans to occupy will become the company’s Southeastern Service Center.  The facility being considered includes a 20,000 sqf hangar, with an additional 10,800 sqf of attached office and shop space.  Leesburg International Airport was chosen by the company for the roll-out of its regional Service Center concept due to the Airport’s close proximity to Lake Harris, the location of a nearby seaplane base in Tavares (needed as an alternative maintenance site for “straight” float planes during the time that a seaplane ramp is being constructed at KLEE), and the large number of float planes and pilots with float plane certification that currently reside in Florida (our state is second only to Alaska in the number of floatplanes that are registered).  Wipaire intends for their Service Center to become operational with approximately 10 employees and a limited range of services prior to the start of Sun-n-Fun (the large fly-in scheduled for April 9-14, 2013 in Lakeland).  Upon completion and full ramp up of the company’s permanent facility, the company will employ between 70-80 employees and offer a complete range of aircraft repair, maintenance and painting services plus float installation at KLEE.  Wipaire also has an existing contract to service aircraft for the Federal Government, some of which are currently based at Patrick AFB in Brevard County. 


In view of the increased electrical load that will result from Wipaire’s operations in Corporate Hangar No. 1, the company has agreed to install (at its cost) a separate electric meter and electric service for the hangar, as well as additional electric receptacles.  Under the terms of the proposed lease agreement for Corporate Block Hangar No. 1, Wipaire will be allowed the use of a vacant 12’ x 20’ office in the Airport Administration Building as well as unused storage space in the vacant building off US HWY 441 that was previously occupied by All Terrain Lawn and Tractor Company during its occupation of the Corporate Block hanger.  Wipaire has also requested that the City provide the company with a Right of First Refusal to lease five acres of undeveloped Airport property located off of College Drive (see attached). 


Because the City Commission’s second meeting in December is being held one week earlier than normal (due to the Christmas holiday), there is insufficient time between the Airport Advisory Board’s December 12th meeting and distribution of the City Commission meeting Agenda materials to allow for a recommendation from the Airport Advisory Board to be provided to the City Commission.  The Commission will, however, be advised of the Board’s recommendation at the December 17th meeting.


Execution of a lease with Wipaire for Corporate Hangar No. 1 must be viewed as only the first step in bringing the company’s full operations to KLEE.  The positive, long-term impact of the company’s operations at the Airport will be dependent on the construction over the next 12-18 months of a seaplane ramp on Lake Harris that is accessible from the eastern end of Runway 13.  This is a project that the Airport Advisory Board and many tenants at KLEE have strongly supported as a means to increase operations into and out of the Airport by float equipped aircraft.  Construction of a seaplane ramp at KLEE has also received enthusiastic support from Tavares City staff, as Tavares’ present seaplane base is not capable of handling the maintenance and repair services that are needed to serve the large number of seaplanes and amphibians that are beginning to come to Lake County.  Maintenance, overhaul and repair services, along with a seaplane ramp, were identified in a 2010 Vision and Strategic Planning Study conducted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as being major components for making Leesburg International Airport a highly successful General Aviation Airport and an economic engine for Lake County.


City staff sees Wipaire as a valuable addition to the other tenants at Leesburg International Airport, and an opportunity to bring above average wage-paying jobs to the community while expanding the Airport’s services to the flying public.



1. Approve execution of the attached Corporate Block Hangar Lease Agreement with Wipaire, Inc.

2. Such alternative action as the Airport Advisory Board may deem appropriate.



Fiscal Impact: 

The lease with Wipaire will generate $12,000.00 in annual revenue for the Airport.  Beginning January of 2014 and each year thereafter that the lease is in effect, the annual base rent will be adjusted to reflect changes in the CPI over the preceding 12 months.  Wipaire will be responsible for the electric utilities used by their operations in Corporate Block Hangar No. 1.  The City will also benefit from increased revenues derived from fuel sales attributed to Wipaire’s operations, although no projections on fuel sales are available at this time.


Submission Date and Time:    12/13/2012 9:55 AM____

Department: ___Airport__________

Prepared by:   ___DD____________                     

Attachments:        Yes _X_   No ____

Advertised:   ____Not Required ______                     

Dates:   __________________________                     

Attorney Review :     Yes_X__  No ____



Revised 6/10/04


Reviewed by: Dept. Head ________


Finance  Dept. __________________                                     


Deputy C.M. ____DD____________                                                                         

Submitted by:

City Manager ___________________


Account No. _­001-0000-362-0200__


Project No. ___________________


WF No. ______________________


Budget  ______________________


Available _____________________




RESOLUTION NO._______________






            THAT the Mayor and City Clerk are hereby authorized to execute an agreement  with Wipaire, Inc. whose address is 1700 Henry Avenue, So., St Paul, Minnesota 55075, for rental of corporate Block Hangar No. 1 at Leesburg International Airport.


             THAT this resolution shall become effective immediately.


PASSED AND ADOPTED by the City Commission of the City of Leesburg, Florida, at a regular meeting held the _17th____ day of __December_______ 2012.











City Clerk