A $10 million construction project has been completed at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport for Coast Flight that includes new hangars, a new flight school and fueling facility for private jets and prop planes.
C&S Companies replaced eight existing buildings that were deteriorating and had outlived their usefulness with three new buildings, including the new flight school, said Cory Hazlewood, company vice president.
“They were very run down and dated. They were just in poor shape,” Hazlewood said. “It really dressed up an area of the airport that was in bad shape.”
The project is part of an ongoing upgrade of the Kearny Mesa Airport, said Jorge Rubio, deputy director of the city airports division.
“This is going to be a continuing process,” Rubio said.
The C&S Companies project won’t add to the number of planes using the Kearny Mesa airport, also known as Montgomery Field, or noise from the airport, Hazlewood said.
The new project, the Coast Air Center, covers 9.4 acres on the south side of the airport on Glen H. Curtis Road with 84,000 square feet of space in the three new buildings.
“We improved a lot of the underground infrastructure and the pavements. The asphalt pavements were in terrible shape,” Hazlewood said.
The project also included construction of six new hangars totaling 35,000 square feet, Hazlewood said.
A key aspect of the project was construction of a new two-story 9,000 square-foot flight school and executive longue for business travelers, Hazlewood said.
The 4,500 square-foot flight school has classroom space for up to 75 students on the second floor with the 4,500 square-foot executive lounge, pilot lounge, office space and conference rooms on the first floor.
The project took about 14 months.
“The biggest hurdle was just dealing with COVID as we got into construction, managing through the pandemic throughout this entire process,” Hazlewood said. “We had minimal to no outbreaks that we know of.”
Ultimately, Hazlewood said the pandemic caused about a two-month delay in the project.
Based in Syracuse, NY with offices in San Diego, C&S Companies specializes in airport projects but Hazlewood said that the company has done a number of other projects in San Diego County, including the renovation of the Landmark Theater in Hillcrest, the Oceanside East shopping center in Oceanside and the community center in Lenar’s 3 Roots community in Mira Mesa.
“Of all the buildings I’ve done in San Diego, this one had a lot complexity. We had to keep the business operating and this area of the airport open at all times,” Hazlewood said. “This facility is a signature facility for the public airport users coming into San Diego, business aircraft.”
The Coast Air Center is the first of a series of projects to upgrade Montgomery Field, Rubio said.
Still to come pending city council approval of a 40 year lease is a $16 million project by MYF Properties doing business as Executive Airpark that would add nearly 60,000 square feet of new hangars, an aviation museum and a fuel farm on a 26.2-acre site just north of Aero Drive.
That project would include construction of a community center “for anybody who wants to come over and take a look” at planes landing and taking off, Rubio said.
Construction would be staggered over the first 15 years of the lease, staring with more than $9.5 million in investments in the first five years.
Rubio said that construction of a helipad by Corporate Helicopters of San Diego also is in the planning stages for Montgomery Field. He said he company leases hangar space at the airport.
The helipad would be along John J. Montgomery Drive in the airport, Rubio said.
In response to a critical 2015 city audit, the city also is in the process of updating master plans for the future development of Montgomery Field and Brown Field in Otay Mesa with a goal of turning the suburban airports into economic drivers for the region.
The master plans have been unchanged since the 1980s and the audit of the airports division faulted it for “insufficient planning and oversight.”
The result was “missed opportunities for development and revenue generation at Brown Field and Montgomery Field airports,” according to the audit.
The audit concluded that “Weak planning efforts have resulted in missed opportunities for development and have placed the Airports Division at an increased risk of repeating past failures.”
The new master plans for Montgomery Field and Brown Field are due for completion in 2022, Rubio said.