BROOKSVILLE — Late last month, amid controversy, the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport spent $1.25 million to buy the office building and hangar of a failed aviation business.
It hoped to lease the defunct Brooksville Air Center to a new tenant, bringing vibrant new business into the airport.
It didn't take long to attract not just one potential tenant but two, the Hernando County Aviation Authority learned late Thursday.
Hernando airport and business development officials have been negotiating for some time with Corporate Jet Solutions Inc., which is based at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport. The company wants to expand its airplane maintenance operation and add other services to become the second fixed-base operator at Brooksville.
Airport manager Don Silvernell told authority members on Thursday that he was able to finally lift the veil of confidentiality on those negotiations. He also announced that just before he did that, he got a letter from John Petrick, president of the airport's one existing fixed base operator, American Aviation, also expressing interest in leasing the site.
A fixed-base operator runs multiple aviation services and Petrick is working to expand his services onto the new site including beefing up his flight-training business.
Bradley Dye of Corporate Jet Solutions told authority members that he didn't plan to go after Petrick's customers but bring in his own. His company's base is in maintenance and he also plans to get into flight training.
Authority members agreed to allow each company to make a detailed presentation before the next meeting on June 13.
In a related note, the authority voted to ask the County Commission to demand reimbursement for the $5,900 the airport spent on testing to determine if hundreds of gallons of airplane fuel had been spilled at the Brooksville Air Center site.
A resident, Paul Douglas, had reported the months-old spill during a County Commission meeting last month forcing immediate reporting to state environmental protection officials and testing. Those tests showed no spill had taken place.
Authority chairman Gary Schraut said that Douglas is on tape saying he saw the spill and that he should reimburse the loss to taxpayers.