RIALTO - The Renaissance Rialto project took a step forward Tuesday when the City Council voted to transfer 437 acres of airport land to the city Redevelopment Agency.

The agency will in turn sell the land, which is along the Foothill (210) Freeway extension, to developers who want to turn the area into a massive development with of housing, businesses, schools and parks.

Lewis-Hillwood LLC, a partnership between Lewis Operating Corp. and Hillwood Development Corp., headed by Ross Perot Jr., is the developer.

The airport and land north of it have been appraised at $82million, but the Federal Aviation Administration is waiting an appraisal of its own. The developer will pay the city that amount for the land, minus the price of preparing the land for development. The city also will pay 45 percent of the FAA's appraised sum to the federal agency.

The City Council approved a conceptual plan for the project in December 2005 but held off on transferring the airport property until officials had won approval to close the airport.

Although the FAA typically decides the fate of airports, the city obtained permission to close Rialto Municipal Airport as part of a federal transportation bill passed

in August 2005.

Rialto officials have said they chose Lewis in part because of the company's political clout. The company has a lengthy business history with Rep. Gary Miller, R-Brea, and Lewis executive Richard Lewis has been friends with Miller since the 1970s. Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto, and Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, also helped the city obtain permission to close the airport.

The city hopes to close the airport by next December.

BS Ranch Perspective:

Now the problem is figuring out where the best property will be to purchase it for an income type property. If you were to purchase it for a profit interest, the city might just turn around and purchase the property back at the price that you got it for, using the ever un-popular Immanent Domain type government take over of the property! There for you might just loose money, instead of a gain in monies, that would definitely be a sad affair. The city must come up with massive amounts of sales since they have to pay the Federal Aeronautical Agency 45% of the income of the land purchases that they get, they are not looking, to make money on the sale of the land, after all, they are looking towards the long potential Tax Liability that will be generated once the property will be developed, and then the city will make back a mint in Property taxes, a whole lot more then they were getting as a Municipal Airport that was currently being ran by the Federal Aeronautical Agency, instead of their own person, they didn't even have control over said, Airport!

It to me is awful that the city would sell out and get rid of the last piece of open land in the Inland Empire, why soon you will only be able to purchase land from the hillsides that are Devour, or what is considered to be the canyon of Cajon Pass, and that is the only un-built property that is left for sale. The property that is along the Lower Cajon has been previously built on, and torn down, as they didn't need the gas service stations any more. The Highway 66 was torn down and so was the service stations. now they will have houses built on them just to make houses available with some land around them, they will be considered to be in the sticks, when all is said and done.

BS Ranch