At the regular meeting on April 12, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Burrell Group to expand operations at the Brooksville – Tampa Bay Regional (BKV) airport.
Economic Development Director Valerie Pianta, introduced members of the Burrell Group, which conducts business as Burrell Aviation, LLC. For the past year, they have been working with Pianta and the BKV on a lease agreement to expand cargo, maintenance and repair, and aviation logistics at the airport. The Airport’s revenue is expected to increase annually by a minimum of $112,385.
Burrell requested to lease the 86-acre parcel on the interior of the airport, adjacent to runway 9-27. The project is estimated to develop more than 700,000 square feet of space, a capital investment estimated at more than $75-million, and create jobs for roughly 900.
Due to the magnitude of the project, Burrell requested a maximum of four years to bring the project to fruition. Pianta reported that the land lease rates during this time will be reduced, providing Burrell Aviation, LLC the opportunity to market, secure tenants, and solidify plans for both facilities and infrastructure. After this period, the land lease rates will be adjusted to the then-current fair market value, including appraisal and reevaluation, every five years.
David Goldschmidt, John Rodstrom, and Ben Fierstein appeared before the board to discuss the choice of BKV for their business endeavors. Goldschmidt cited Hernando County’s growth as a deciding factor for their decision.
Goldschmidt told the commissioners that his family moved to Brooksville in the 1950s and ran The Oaks motel and that his grandmother once served Elvis Presley.
Rodstrom said that COVID also drove the decision. “When you think about it, [COVID] really unlocked the e-commerce in this country like we’ve never seen in our lifetime, and we don’t think the genie is going back in the bottle.” Of the nearby international airports, Tampa (TPA) and Orlando (MCO), Rodstrom said, “They’re full. They’re expensive, they’re congested, and we think the tenants there are primed to come here.”
According to a media release, Burrell Aviation was formed to meet the rising demand for air cargo, freight and logistics solutions in the continental United States, Mexico, and Canada through a public-private partnership model. The company’s core business lines are air cargo, storage (cold and dry), private hangars, aircraft maintenance and repair (MRO) and distribution/transit trucking centers. In addition to these, Burrell Aviation continues to explore other complementary business lines.
Chairman Steve Champion led the board’s discussion, and ultimate agreement, and said to Rodstrom, “The reason you don’t have a lot of questions is because we like this!”
Hernando County Administrator, Jeff Rogers stated, “To get to today, the County has been investing, for many years and millions of dollars in funds from the DOT, FAA and the County not only for runways but also the roadways next to it and the extended infrastructure.” Rogers added, “We believe strongly in Burrell Aviation. We view this project as a partnership for the future.”