Las Vegas man proposes $1 billion for Kingman airport

Commercial jets are stored at Kingman Airport, a sign the mid-market airline industry has yet to recover from the Great Recession. The tarmac is cracked and in a state of deterioration due to legacy contamination from a smelting operation in the 1940s. A Las Vegas-based investment group proposes to buy the airport and industrial park for $1 billion.

Photo by JC Amberlyn.

Commercial jets are stored at Kingman Airport, a sign the mid-market airline industry has yet to recover from the Great Recession. The tarmac is cracked and in a state of deterioration due to legacy contamination from a smelting operation in the 1940s. A Las Vegas-based investment group proposes to buy the airport and industrial park for $1 billion.

KINGMAN – A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you’re talking serious money.

James Heldman proposes to buy Kingman Airport and Industrial Park for $1 billion, which would include all airport property, current leases and contracts of airport management.

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James Heldman

Heldman, chief executive officer of Crown Western Co. in Bullhead City, is working with Timber Crest Consulting, a venture capital investment group from Las Vegas that would fund the purchase as Air Cargo Arizona Corp.

Heldman said the new owners would rebuild the runway to its maximum 15,600 feet with heavy concrete and build a new control tower. They would also build new hangars to serve Boeing 757s, along with new distribution facilities on the south side of the runway.

“I submitted an official proposal to the new mayor, and she pulled it from the (Dec. 6) agenda,” Heldman said in an email to the Daily Miner. “However, I am expecting her to put it back on the second meeting this month.”

Kingman City Clerk Sydney Muhle confirmed Friday that Heldman has submitted a proposal to purchase the airport and industrial park.

“However, the city has not been able to verify all of the information in it, so we’re still in conversation,” Muhle said. “The timing fell kind of weird with the election, too. He met with (former) Mayor (Richard) Anderson, and then kept it going with Mayor (Monica) Gates. With the transition happening, the city is trying to figure out what’s going on.”

City attorney Carl Cooper is reviewing the proposal and verifying information, she said.

Heldman plans to improve the airport for community transportation, giving “first-class service” to passengers and executives and building a state-of-the-art terminal with a three-story parking garage.

The airport is ripe for development as a cargo distribution center, with concrete taxiways for cargo jets, large hangars for service and repair and new distribution buildings, Heldman said.

He guarantees employment of not less than 1,000 high-paying jobs, and as many as 10,000. Depending on technical skills, employment could swell to 15,000, Heldman added.

Timber Crest proposes to pay $100 million a week starting in January until the $1 billion is paid in full and airport property title is transferred to either Timber Crest or the new entity, Air Cargo Arizona.

“We will have immediately available $10 million in earnest money at the time of the scheduled meeting of the City Council, and should they approve, transferable to the city upon completing the contract,” Heldman said.

The new owners would buy out the long-term contracts of Kingman Airport Authority Executive Director Dave French and Economic Development Director Bob Riley for a “reasonable amount,” he said.

The proposal comes at a time when the airport has come under scrutiny for its operational progress and revenue growth.

The election of a new mayor and three new council members hinged on their campaign to bring changes to Kingman Airport Authority, which oversees the 4,000 acre airport and industrial park.

Travis Lingenfelter, one of the newly elected councilmen, was a force behind the formation of PEAK, or Partnership for Economic Development in Kingman, whose goal is to bring more business to Kingman Airport after years of stagnation.

He noted that no business has opened at the industrial park and no new construction has occurred in the past six years.

Paul Gaines, who owns an airplane fabrication business at the airport, said he would never have relocated to Kingman from Atlanta had he known how difficult it is to work with the airport authority.

“I’m on the airfield committee to get things fixed and we’re getting resistance,” he told the Daily Miner in January. “It’s a toxic environment between airport tenants and users, aircraft operators and the airport authority.”

Heldman said the new airport owners would fund technical training for mechanics, welders and pilots at Mohave Community College. The military would have full access of the runway as needed for use in a national emergency or limited touch-and-go training.

“We hope that your City Council members will approve our offer and that we will have a long, successful relationship,” Heldman said.

“Our project budget is $5 billion.”

Read what officials say about the project by clicking here.

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KingmanCares 1 month, 1 week ago

Where do we sign!? Am I dreaming? The mine may be reopening and now there are people who want to buy and use this well located airport in a positive way to make thousands of new jobs and tax income for the area! From what I know airports don't use a lot of water like the new farms up the road do. Plus all that new income from the new well-paid workers has a domino effect on all local businesses.

At the very least the Mayor and City Council should give this the consideration it deserves and even hire someone to investigate the proposal to find hidden problems and an impact statement on resources, tax income for the city, and jobs. Training local people for those jobs is the icing on the cake. I understand the good old boys want to keep Kingman a small town with a small town feel but there's room for growth within that concept. The fact is Kingman is well located as a goods transportation hub. If people benefit from the transportation services; even better.

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George_Francuski 1 month, 1 week ago

At least someone understands the value and potential of our CITY-OWNED asset. Congratulations, Dick Anderson for getting the ball rolling on this. Every indication is Mayor Gates and the new council will thoroughly examine this proposal and act to end the lengthy chapter of Kingman Airport Authority's strangle-hold on progress.

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billy 1 month, 1 week ago

Yes great deal but as always the Kingman folks can't read. French and Riley stand to gain just what they have been looking for from the city and incoming businesses a large payout for being EMPLOYEES of an airport job. Yet another payoff from our fine city. They work at the airport those two do not own the airport. The only thing those two should get is jail time for failure to follow out on contracts. And selling the airport for a billion dollars you will see how much less control you have on what happens out there then now. Try dangerous goods and chemicals at our airport without our legs to stand on to stop it. Love the two comments here where do we sign, don't worry the devil always shows you were to sign and always has a pen of your blood to do it with. Our airport land is not worth a billion dollars, a billion dollars would buy the own city and county three times over read between the lines or we will see the next story of "how could our city do that to us why did they sell to these crooks. Wake up Kingman.

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Desertdweller 1 month, 1 week ago

You and most of us are here because its Kingman! quiet, small town atmosphere...do you really want all the cr-p that comes with something this big, do you want another Bullhead where you can't hardly get around because of traffic, not mentioning the crime...remember the old adage....."If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!"

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matt 1 month, 1 week ago

May be worth a hard look at to the validity; this is total BS.

  1. There's a Crown Western Co in Vegas, not Bullhead. The addresses listed on that company are residential homes valued at no higher than $170K.
  2. Here's James Heldman's Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/james.heldman - does that look like a Billion-Dollar Investor?
  3. There is no "Timber Crest Consulting" in Las Vegas.

...And on, and on, and on.

I own a multi-million dollar company and this is so transparently a gag.

Come on, Hubble Ray Smith!

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RoundFace 1 month, 1 week ago

Billy, The Kingman folks can't read? Thanks for your observation Mr. Wizard. Unfortunately you're incorrect again.

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Nolymit 1 month, 1 week ago

This would be great for the local economy, and city revenue ... Let see how much Monica & Travis want this City to move forward with our growth,, She couldn't do it last time.. Let see what has changed.. Do we need to get Mr. French out of the way ?? Or is he going to try to squash the possible growth process.. We the citizens need to make note of what is to come..

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OttovonMurrow 1 month, 1 week ago

I, like many people in this area, want nothing more than this airport to prosper much more than it has in the past MANY years. But this offer is truly a joke. Wait until it becomes a little bit more public. It is a great diversion and it is a true embarrassment that it got this far and was published in such a way. Shameful

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fulltimer 1 month, 1 week ago

We can see how beneficial it is to deal with Lost Wages investors. Does Rhodes ring a bell? There is a lot of fine print to read before giving up control over anything.

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