Commercial contracting company Newman-Alton, Inc. closed its doors last fall after owners Patrick Newman and Steve Alton both retired. The non-union general contractors had been in business since 1992 and had 25 full time employees. Their office and warehouse was located at 719 Estill Drive, adjacent to the perimeter of the runway for Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. After the business closed, the nearly three acre property was listed with Garrison Group for $388,500 and sold earlier this month for $347,250.

Mark Hanna, executive director of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, said Glen Garrison approached the airport about purchasing the property due to its proximity.

“For decades, the airport has been active in acquiring properties in and around the airport that are within certain airspace. The FAA is always supportive of airports acquiring and being able to control the property in close proximity to the runways,” said Hanna. “We’re not in a position to condemn property and force land owners into selling. However, as opportunities come about and properties go on the market that are in these airspace zones, we are certainly motivated to acquire them.”

Hanna explained that because the Springfield Airport Authority receives funding for runway improvements and other grants from the federal government, they are obligated to maintain and manage the airspace around the airport.

Since the former Newman-Alton building is in good shape, the Airport Authority plans to market the property for lease and already has interest from a couple of potential tenants.

“We think it’s prudent to generate some passive income, rather than maintaining a vacant property,” said Hanna. “Long term, we would raze it for protection of the airspace.”

Hanna also said that having an additional building could come in handy in light of some upcoming projects at the airport.

“There is some major construction going to be happening on the airport complex this year, on and around the general aviation complex, just east of the main passenger terminal. We may look at relocating some of the current tenants,” he said.

Hanna also hopes to be able to eventually bring new development to the 150 acres of land on the south side of the airport, adjacent to Veteran’s Parkway.  “We’ve done a lot of advance work to prepare the site, cutting through the red tape and focused on a 50 acre site that may be the most marketable and least costly to develop,” he explained. “We’ve done some environmental clearance and gotten the FAA to release the property from aviation purposes. We can now enter into up to 50 year leases for non-aeronautical tenants.  We’re trying to set all this up so we can move at the speed of business when we have a company that expresses an interest in the location.”