Airport moves forward in investor search

2013-06-06T12:11:00Z 2013-06-06T18:19:16Z Airport moves forward in investor searchRob Earnshaw Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 06, 2013 12:11 pm  • 

GARY │ The joint city/airport committee has approved the release of a document that will kick off a dialogue in the market of potential investment groups that will form a public-private partnership of the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

The committee at a meeting Thursday announced the request for expressions of interest and qualifications document be released Friday. The document will do two things: test the market and ask potential investors for the best ideas they have.

The document makes it clear it is not a solicitation for proposals to privatize the airport, as the airport board will retain ownership of the airport. The document is geared to facilitate and educate the committee as they prepare for the more detailed Request for proposals document.

The request includes background on the city of Gary and how the partnership issue fits into broader initiatives of the mayor. It includes a description of the airport – focusing on what it is today and what the runway expansion project can accomplish.

The document also references developmental opportunities surrounding the airport and unique attributes including proximity to Chicago and Lake Michigan ports.

In addition, it asks questions to potential investors such as what services could they provide and what are expected outcomes along with experience. It also asks what effects might there be on current employees and what steps would the investor take to ensure the employment of local residents, minorities, women and veterans.

Some committee members expressed concern of the June 17 deadline for the document to be returned by investors. Committee member Al Stanley said there is sufficient time because “the investment community is tuned in.”

“They know what we’re doing,” he said. “They are prepared to respond to us. People around the world are actually emailing us and asking us more questions. Let’s not assume the investment community is not tuned in to what we are doing here. They’re waiting to respond.”

A proposed agreement with an investor is expected to be reached by the end of September.

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