WILMINGTON — A man who markets Wilmington Air Park space and sites said Thursday that new conversations are being initiated “with every prospect possible, especially in the air cargo industry.”
David Lotterer, a vice president with the commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, made the comment during his report at the monthly board meeting of the Clinton County Port Authority, which owns the air park. It was the first Port Authority board of directors meeting since Amazon announced its air freight hub will be at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, after the online retailer conducted an air cargo initiative at the air park.
Lotterer also said it’s always been the goal to have a diverse business community at the air park, so that companies there are in a variety of sectors including general manufacturing, logistics, aviation manufacturing, and air cargo.
“We continue to have active prospects at a variety of stages of discussion, some of which are quite large,” said Lotterer.
During the meeting, Port Authority Executive Director Daniel “Dan” G. Evers read a prepared public statement on the Amazon news. There are legal limitations on what air park officials and others are permitted to discuss in public, as well as practical limitations on what should be discussed, he said.
Among the things he can say, stated Evers, is that the effort to locate Amazon’s operations here was a collaborative effort, “led by JobsOhio, in which local and regional officials, including representatives from the Dayton Development Coalition, County officials, City officials and the Port Authority all participated.”
JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit corporation that’s meant to lead Ohio’s job-creation efforts. With the stated goal of revitalizing the state’s economy and creating jobs, Governor John Kasich worked with the Ohio General Assembly on House Bill 1, which created the framework for JobsOhio. House Bill 1 was signed into law in February 2011.
Another thing he can publicly say, Evers stated, is “there was nothing the Port Authority was not willing to do to win this contest. We had two primary concerns: (1) getting the jobs here; and (2) keeping the jobs here. So long as the Air Park could be kept running and operating, whether those operations were under the direction of the Port Authority or by anyone else, I would have taken any request to the Board for approval, and am fully confident that the Board would have approved anything.”
The Port Authority executive director added, “We have reached out to Amazon to see if they would be willing to speak publicly about their decision making process. My belief, at this moment, is that Amazon will want all of its public statements to be those that were set forth in its [announcement] press release.”
Kevin DeWine, managing partner of CBD Advisors in Beavercreek, was a guest at the Thursday board meeting. The firm serves as a government affairs strategist and a strategic advisor to the Port Authority.
A former chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, DeWine noted that new President Donald Trump is in favor of projects to improve the nation’s infrastructure.
“As you know, he is a great fan of airports and a great user of airports, including this one,” DeWine remarked, evidently aware of Trump’s trips to Clinton County during the fall campaign.
He added his firm knows there needs to be a plan and a case needs to be made in Washington, D.C. about how airports are treated if there turns out to be an infrastructure bill in Congress, “and how do we position ourselves if we’re going to be a recipient.”
DeWine added, “We want to make sure that we’re telling the Wilmington story, so we’re in a great position to be considered for whatever opportunities might come down the line.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.