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Summary of Best Practices 69 6.1.2 Stakeholder Engagement In any development project or lease agreement, the identification and inclusion of all affected stakeholders early in the process is crucial to a successful outcome. An airport sponsor operating in a vacuum may overlook valuable resources or encounter unexpected hurdles if he or she has not actively engaged the stakeholder groups that have vested, or even ancillary, interests in the airport. Throughout the case study research process, it was evident that economic development agen- cies or corporations (EDA/EDC), both local and state, were able to provide airports with valuable assistance. It is essential that any project or lease agreement, particularly one with a commercial component or that will result in job creation, involve EDAs. Airport sponsors should consider the local and state EDA/EDC as key partners in achieving overall airport development goals. These resources should be engaged in a continuing relationship versus a project-specific role. EDA/ EDC should be regularly involved in airport planning and in policy discussion to keep airport development goals in the forefront of their own priorities. The EDA/EDC may be able to pro- vide the airport with resources to market the airport to potential tenants, secure new funding and/or grants, identify tax incentives, be an advocate in the political arena, and/or assist with the grant application processes. 6.1.3 Financial and Economic Considerations When attempting to secure either aeronautical or nonaeronautical development, the airport must offer competitive packages. Offering competitive commercial real estate packages is always a challenge when comparing leased property, with a defined term length, to a property that can be owned fee simple. Both leased and owned parcels are likely to have similar tax implications, with the exception of Foreign Trade Zone scenarios that may only be offered on leased airport property. Airport development, therefore, must be creative in its approach to compete on a level playing field with traditional development scenarios; the equalizer is often applying grants and incentives to perform some level of development on behalf of the project. Lease rates, placement of infrastructure required of airport development, planning, entitlement (the ability to develop property within a given jurisdiction), and location all play a role in the case of the tenant evalu- ating site options. While the airport sponsor must maximize revenues for the airport to ensure sustainability, there are often other economic and financial factors outside the confines of the airport that may affect the desirability of a particular airport lease agreement. Economic considerations such as job creation and tax revenue generation may provide a positive impact for the local community while offering little direct financial benefit to the airport. When working in conjunction with an EDA/EDC, states, and local governments, the airport may be pressured to enter into leasing arrangements that do not directly benefit the airport but provide other benefits to the commu- nity as a whole. In this scenario, the airport sponsor should seek to protect the airport's finan- cial interests to the extent possible. Financial incentives for a potential lessee should be provided in the form of EDA/EDC grants (state and local) and tax incentives rather than reductions in base rent. If it is deemed that lease rate reductions are necessary to secure the potential lessee, alternate forms of revenue, such as a percent of gross sale arrangements or additional fees based upon the lessee's business operations (such as fuel-flowage fees), should be actively sought prior to executing the agreement and coordinated with the FAA prior to completing negotiations. 6.1.4 Economic Impact Considerations Quantification and description of a project's economic impact can be a powerful message and justification for project support. This Guidebook has already described the economic development