Preliminary plans were presented on Wednesday at the Lakewood Industrial Commission meeting for a new, 2-story, 30,000 sq foot terminal and office conference / convention area and restaurant.
The new building is being planned to be built at the approximate location of the existing terminal operations trailers on the airport.
The plans were presented by Attorney Adam Pfeffer, on behalf of a developer who is proposing to build the terminal building under a public-private partnership which means the building will be built using his private funds, and the revenue from leasing and renting the building space will be shared between him and the Lakewood Industrial Commission.
The developer has purchased a building near the airport and he has future plans to build new buildings at that location. In conjunction with those building plans, the developer and the LIC have previously agreed that the LIC will permit him to build an additional parking lot on current airport land, and in return, he will pay a per space fee and pave a new roadway/driveway access directly from Airport Road, across from the Garden State Parkway ramp, into the airport.
In connection with those plans, the preliminary terminal building plans presented now depict extending that Airport Road roadway driveway all the way through the airport out to the existing Cedar Bridge Avenue driveway.
The new access way to and from the parkway ramp aims to minimize local traffic impact as drivers will not need to utilize Cedar Bridge Avenue. There is currently a 3-way traffic signal on Airport Road at this parkway ramp. That signal will be upgraded to a 4-way signal to incorporate the airport driveway.
The plan depicts a helipad in back of the terminal building. Back in March 2020, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced a $678,130.94 grant which is expected to fund 90% of the design and construction of a helipad on the airport. With state support, design plans remain underway for this planned helipad to give the airport the capabilities to serve more helicopter operators.
The airport currently has an aircraft viewing area which also includes eating tables where families can enjoy an outing while watching the planes nearby. There are plans to expand the current viewing area both externally and possibly on the rooftop of the terminal building as well, stated Lakewood Economic Development Director Steven Reinman.
Back in September 2020, the LIC awarded a $15,000 contract to Tokarski Millemann Architects LLC, of Wall Township for conceptual planning of the new terminal building.
At the Commission meeting, Mr. Reinman noted that this planned conference / convention space will benefit the entire region because, although there are nearby hotels which have meeting space, they are smaller scales and there is no nearby convention / conference space of a similar size. Additionally, on a local level, this facility will enhance the business community, and increase our ratable bases and the restaurant will be a flagship project to service the industrial park which does not have any such use yet.
The airport is currently serviced only by a septic tank and not by city sewer. With this public-private partnership, sewer will be extended into the airport and the new terminal building.
The Lakewood Industrial Commission and the developer will work on finalizing the specific financial and legal aspects of the public – private partnership, and expect to hold a legally required public hearing on the plan in the coming few months.
The FAA, which regulates use of the airport, will need to approve the non-aeronautical use of this area of the airport, and work on that approval is already underway.