Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority agreed Tuesday to sell 253 acres of surplus airport property to the Rockefeller Group so that it can be developed into a massive Fed-Ex Ground warehouse that could employ more than 1,000 people.
It’s a deal that could solve many of the airport’s financial problems, but it also comes with some risks. The money could take as long as two years to come, while the airport needs as much as $5 million of it by the end of next year. And if Fed-Ex decided against building in Allen Township, the airport could end up getting nothing.
In a separate move, the authority also gave Rockefeller the first option to buy another 281 acres, and encouraged the airport staff to begin negotiating to sell another 298 acres to local developers that include Lehigh Valley Industrial Park Inc.
“We know the clock is ticking and we have a [financial] gun to our head,” said authority chairman Tony Iannelli. “But this [project] is for real. We’ll all be keeping our fingers crossed.”