Airport board President Michael Wells, appointed to the position by Mayor Greg Ballard in January, said it has missed possible revenue by not having a gas station on airport property and by not taking more action to prepare the now-abandoned old passenger terminal site along Interstate 465 for reuse.
"Corporate America today is on a shorter time frame than ever before," Wells said. "We've been in a long period of extended planning, maybe a little more than I would have done." . . .
The airport staff is working with a developer on a contract for a gas station near its main interchange with I-70. The estimated price for the gas station and accompanying retail space is $4 million, airport spokesman Carlo Bertolini said.
The gas station is aimed at serving returning rental-car customers and airport visitors, but the airport has also sought ideas for additional tenants, such as a health care clinic, a restaurant, fitness center, commercial office space and even a pet kennel.
"We are going to have a service station. That's a very high priority of mine," Wells said. "It should have been done three years ago."This helps explain why the airport authority has filed suit to block a private developer's plan to build a 3700-spaced covered parking facility near the airport in Decatur Township, which desperately needs additional tax-producing properties to finance the cost of its schools and local governments. The IBJ report notes that Mike Wells is not interested in pursuing the previous plan to build a hotel attached to the new airport terminal's parking garage. Wells is president of REI Real Estate Services, which developed the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis with the help of $60 million in public financing. By the way, didn't anyone in the local news media notice that none of the dozens of politicians who received a free weekend stay at the JW Marriott as part of its grand opening reported the value of the gift received on their financial disclosure forms?