Gerald R. Ford International Airport Strategic Real Estate Development Plan

Grand Rapids, MI

Acres Studied
Years of Global &
National Real Estate Data

Planning Strategic Real Estate Development for Potential Future Revenue

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority identified its undeveloped real estate as a significant source of potential future revenues. Recognizing that there are specific real estate development opportunities that require or are significantly enhanced by the presence of an airport, the GRR airport hired MJ to prepare a Strategic Real estate Development Plan for over 900 acres of land across multiple sites, some with runway access.

This market-focused and stakeholder-lead study explored local, regional, and national market trends and conditions, as well as niche global opportunities, across 2 years (before and throughout COVID) to inform a unified master land use plan. This plan, along with multiple associated engineering-vetted site development concepts, serve as a framework for future development with focus placed on implementation strategy, phasing, development costs, and financial impacts.

Additionally, the MJ team worked to create a brand identity for the real estate development plan than could be presented externally as an umbrella program encapsulating a number of future airport growth initiatives, aviation related or not. Supportive of this branded marketing platform, several ultrarealistic visualizations of proposed development opportunities were prepared for airport use in a variety of marketing mediums.

The resultant product of this effort included a real estate master plan narrative report and marketing platform along with MJ’s patented Dynamic Land Development and Management Tool. This tool enables airport staff to assess their real estate assets by incorporating land use, highest/best use, environmental, utility and other data obtained, developed and included in the GRR Strategic Real Estate Development Plan. This tool enables GRR staff to input specific screening information related to the type of development considered (i.e., hospitality, commercial, industrial, etc.), and other pertinent information such as the amount of space necessary, the availability of road access, utilities, etc. The Tool assesses the input factors and identify the top three (3) development sites for the proposed development type. Obstruction height analysis based on input structure heights is also incorporated into this module.

Additional to the assessment of highest and best use, MJ also included information related to the financial feasibility of development scenarios. GRR staff can input specific financial details related to a development proposal, including lease term, lease rate, the cost of improvements required, and any incentives offered for development. The financial feasibility assessment will develop a 10-year financial projection based on the user inputs and return such information as; annual net income/loss, annual return on investment, cumulative return on investment and project break-even to assist GRR staff in evaluating land development opportunities.