Home News Local News City, Ascent sign agreement allowing hangar work to proceed

City, Ascent sign agreement allowing hangar work to proceed

The city of Roswell has signed a legal agreement with Ascent Aviation Services that gives the city assurances it needs to begin site work for Ascent's new hangar at the Roswell Air Center. In this July 28 photo, Ascent Aviation President David Querio talks about his company's plan for the Roswell operations during a meeting on the Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell campus. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The city of Roswell has signed the legal agreement with Ascent Aviation Services that gives it the assurance needed to begin site work for Ascent’s new hangar at the Roswell Air Center.

“We are moving forward with preparing all the construction drawings in order to build the large hangar,” said Joe Neeb during a Thursday Roswell City Council Legal Committee meeting at City Hall. “This is the one document that we were waiting for, holding out hope for. We believe that now we have the commitment from the company and the protection for the city.”

The Memorandum of Agreement was signed Wednesday by Neeb and David T. Querio, president of Ascent Aviation, a maintenance, repair and overhaul business based in Arizona that intends to open an operation at the Air Center by summer 2022.

The company has estimated its investment in the Roswell area over five years at $18 million. Because Ascent intends to create about 100 local jobs the first year and as many as 356 jobs within five years, the deal is also being supported by state Local Economic Development Act funds of up to $4 million, as well as $3 million from a $5 million state capital outlay award given to Chaves County. The capital outlay funds are being used to help pay the cost for site work for the phase-one hangar.

Neeb indicated Thursday that the city also will have to put in money for site work, which he previously estimated would cost about $8 million. He said information about how the city will pay for that will be presented to city councilors in coming weeks.

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The legal agreement indicates that the land lease with the city will be with STORE Capital Acquisitions LLC, which is providing the financing for the hangar to Ascent. Ascent will then enter a sublease with STORE Capital so that Ascent can function as owner and operator of the hangar and begin its repayment to the city for site work.

The hangar will be built on the west side of the airfield, near West Earl Cummings Loop and Mathis Street. It will be next to Hangar 1083, which is occupied by Dean Baldwin Painting.

The agreement also specifies that the city will work with Armstrong Consulting Inc. to provide engineering services and construction oversight for the project, with Ascent also having authority over all task orders and fees.

If Ascent does not sign a sublease with STORE, Ascent agrees to reimburse the city for any work on the site or related fees owed to Armstrong Consulting, up to $5 million.

The land lease and sublease is expected to be presented to the Roswell City Council Legal Committee at its next meeting, said City Attorney Parker Patterson. That meeting is now scheduled for Oct. 28.

Querio previously announced that Ascent Aviation had decided to buy its phase-one hangar from the Rubb Group, which has its U.S. base in Sanford, Maine. Rubb uses specialized fabric materials and has been providing hangars for the U.S. military, airports, airlines, port authorities, professional sporting groups and other entities for decades.

At previous meetings, Querio has described the hangar as being 300 feet by 300 feet and 10 stories high, big enough to accommodate the largest transport airplanes on the market today. Ascent intends to provide full-service maintenance and repair on aircraft and eventually to convert commercial aircraft into freight planes.

The company also plans to build a phase-two hangar after the first five years of its operations at the Roswell Air Center. Querio has said that Ascent estimates that its local payroll will be $7 million in the first year and as much as $22 million by year five.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.