RDU Land-Lease Agreement Secures Funding for Critical Airport Infrastructure, Helps Fund Potential Mountain Biking Lease on Airport Land

RDU Airport, N.C. – The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board of Directors voted Friday at a special meeting to generate new revenue through a mineral lease with Wake Stone Corporation to help fund crucial infrastructure projects, including replacement of the airport’s primary runway, more gates and better amenities for its 12.8 million annual passengers.

The agreement is projected to generate about $24 million from a 25-year, 105-acre expansion of the adjacent existing quarry to help fund airport capital improvement projects. The agreement also requires Wake Stone to provide $3.6 million for a third party to lease 151 acres of airport land for mountain biking recreation. Wake Stone will contribute an additional estimated $3 million at the end of the agreement to reclaim the site with recreational features.

The Airport Authority first solicited public proposals to explore revenue sources in 2017. After evaluating an initial proposal from Wake Stone to lease a parcel of airport land for a quarry, the Authority chose to pause and carefully consider revenue options and the community’s needs. The Authority encouraged Wake Stone to seek additional input from local governments, the broader community and groups with concerns about how airport land should be used. The $3.6 million for a potential mountain biking lease and committed funding for recreational features in the reclamation plan is the result of that stakeholder engagement.

The agreement reached today is the first step in determining the feasibility of a quarry. Wake Stone must obtain all required federal, state and environmental permits for the project to proceed, which is estimated to take up to two years.

The Airport Authority navigates and complies with an intricate web of statutory and regulatory requirements every day. The Airport Authority has done due diligence related to its approval of the agreement with Wake Stone, and is confident that the permitting and approval process to determine the feasibility of the expansion of the existing quarry can begin. The Airport Authority remains committed to complying with all applicable laws and requirements.

Note: One board member was recused from the vote due to a conflict of interest. Another board member did not attend the meeting.