The Ohio county that is home to the former DHL Express U.S. hub will soon be asking interested parties to develop a master plan and market study on how best to use the facility in the post-DHL era, according to a county executive. DHL is scheduled to give the facility to the county at the end of February.
Chris Schock, executive director of the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, said late last week that the request for proposals to remake the Wilmington (Ohio) Air Park will be issued in the coming weeks. He would not elaborate.
DHL and the Clinton County Port Authority announced on Jan. 20 that DHL plans to donate the air park to the port authority, effective Feb. 28. The donation agreement includes the transfer of title to the facility's land and buildings, as well as the donation of unspecified personal property located at the air park.
The port authority was created in 2004 to facilitate economic development in the region. Port authorities in Ohio can provide low-cost, tax-advantaged funds to finance construction and improvement of private business facilities as a means of job creation.
The 2,200-acre air park is the largest privately owned airport in the nation. The transfer agreement concludes nearly a year of negotiations that began shortly after DHL officially ended domestic U.S. operations on Jan. 30, 2009. The express company, which today serves the United States only through its international services, subsequently moved its U.S. operations to Cincinnati, about 40 miles away.
In early 2009, the state, county, and city began to explore redevelopment alternatives for the air park, soliciting "requests for information." Of the 13 responses received, the three highest-rated came from developer Jones Lang LaSalle, airport planners Landrum & Brown and Aeroterm, and a four-member consortium that included real estate giant CB Richard Ellis.