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50 CHAPTER FOURTEEN CONCLUSIONS This synthesis developed a series of case studies of vacant a large property goes vacant, it is common to conduct a mar- or underutilized aeronautical property at U.S. airports. ket or reuse assessment. However, under market conditions Although not an exhaustive analysis, the investigation of present from 2008 to 2011, finding a replacement tenant vacancies suggests that the problem appears widespread. may take several years to accomplish, even for facilities in Vacancies originate for a variety of reasons, including good condition. Costs for long-term maintenance and repair will accumulate as the property sits vacant. Sponsors need Functional obsolescence of a building, to plan for vacancies. Airports that have specific timelines Changes in passenger demand (up or down), associated with each option can move decisively from one Consolidated or merged airline operations, option to the next. Loss of connecting hub status, Outsourcing of services and functions, and Tenant bankruptcy. KEEPING A FACILITY ALIVE PRESERVES OPTIONS (AT A COST) Each of these reasons influences the timing and likeli- hood of the vacancy and the subsequent role of the airport The synthesis presented case studies such as the former sponsor. Given the history of rapid growth of air travel, air- Pittsburgh passenger terminal where a decision to turn off ports are more accustomed to addressing obsolescence in the the heating and cooling systems and other utilities resulted context of expansion rather than in the context of no growth in remarkably fast degradation of the terminal's interior and or decline in airport activity. As shown earlier, some con- systems. Mildew and mold as well as vandalism transitioned necting airports in the United States, such as John F. Ken- the property from a possible reuse candidate to a building nedy International Airport, Charlotte, and Denver, continue hazard within 1 year. to experience strong passenger growth, whereas others, such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, have experienced Other airports spend millions to keep a building alive. the opposite. The Port of Oakland might have demolished the Oakland Maintenance Center (OMC) when United Airlines vacated, The most challenging vacancies for an airport arise when but it had planned to expense the demolition as part of future an airline dehubs or when an airline or other major tenant capital projects on or near the site. Those projects have not yet rejects a lease in bankruptcy. In these instances, the prop- been needed and the Port has spent a lot of money to maintain erty is often highly specialized or in poor condition and the the vacated maintenance facility. These expenses have been bankrupt entity does not need it anymore. These properties somewhat offset by advertising revenues from billboards and usually revert to and become the responsibility of the airport interim storage and use of office space at the OMC. sponsor. As documented through the case studies, rarely does an airport sponsor receive a property that is in both Keeping a building alive promotes safety, prevents future high demand and excellent shape. Most reversion situations expenses for costly repairs, and creates a positive environ- require (and inspire) airports to institute a review of options ment on airport property, which will attract future tenants. At that range from a decision to maintain a facility for future a minimum, upkeep includes heating and ventilation of the reuse, find a replacement tenant, or tear down the building. interior and regular inspections of the building's mechanical systems and fire safety. Airports secure vacated properties The case studies offer a few valuable principles for con- so as not to be a further cost liability or safety hazard. sideration that are summarized in the following sections. Vacated buildings can become a "storage facility." In these instances, accumulation of junk, trash, debris, boxes, DECISIVE ACTION ON REUSE OR DEMOLITION lumber, scrap metal, or any other materials may produce health, fire, or safety hazards or become harborage for Most airports have master plans and/or airport layout plans rodents or other animals. Maintenance of plumbing and that identify existing and future aeronautical land use. When completely draining or heating all pipes for water to resist