Construction has begun on the development of a new cargo facility at San Bernardino International Airport after the final ground lease was approved for the Eastgate Air Cargo Facility project by the airport authority.

Located at the airport, the project is part of the airport’s master plan to revitalise the former Norton Air Force Base which was shuttered in 1994 and will support additional air cargo.

Efforts to revitalise the base led to AllianceCalifornia, the master plan to help the airport and surrounding region to prosper, aiming to bring sustainable economic revitalisation to the communities affected by the base closure. It is a public-private partnership between the Inland Valley Development Agency, SBD International Airport, and Hillwood, an estate development company.

The alliance celebrated the milestone after the San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA) Commission approved the final ground lease, giving the go-ahead for construction to begin on the cargo project.

“Since 2002, AllianceCalifornia has created over 12,645 permanent jobs, surpassing the 10,000 jobs that were lost when Norton Air Force Base had to close its doors,” said SBD International Airport’s Executive Director Michael Burrows. “Almost 20 years in the making, this Eastgate project is an incredible chapter in our public-private partnership with Hillwood. On aeronautically-restricted property, this was one of the more challenging yet truly vital elements of our multi-year revitalization efforts. It is a major step towards innovating a green, sustainable air cargo complex that flies and drives our economy without the use of public subsidies.”

The facility will feature a 658,500 square-foot building and two 25,000 square-foot maintenance buildings and 41 acres of new aircraft ramp. It is expected the facility will see 12-daily flights during the first year and 26 daily flights by year five.

Eastgate will utilise environmentally friendly practices, incorporating energy-efficient green buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and electric aviation ground support equipment. The project will also underground existing overhead power lines – decreasing fire hazards.

“Sustainability and job creation are at the core of Hillwood’s values,” said Hillwood Senior Vice President John Magness. “In partnership with nine highly-skilled labor unions, Eastgate will demonstrate the economic potential for environmentally responsible air cargo facilities at AllianceCalifornia.”

New roles created at Eastgate will include new aviation-specific occupations. The Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) which focuses on economic development in the region supports AllianceCalifornia’s efforts, with IEEP President and CEO, Paul Granillo commenting: “The logistics industry has fueled the Inland Empire’s spectacular recovery by generating an estimated 84,000 new jobs – that’s nearly one out of every four new jobs – over the past 10 years. Eastgate will continue to grow the region’s economy in air cargo, so we can work closer to home and create good jobs for workers of all skill and education levels.”

The Commission’s decision concludes a multi-year environmental and community review process and follows the Federal Aviation Administration’s Record of Decision of a Finding of No Significant Impact on the environment.

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