The Portland International Jetport plans to spend $4.5 million to buy a parking lot, valet parking business and attached undeveloped land near the airport.

The Portland City Council approved the purchase on Monday. Approval allows the airport to buy the 4.5-acre parcel and attached Park’N Jet operation with 350 parking spaces.

The airport intends to restart the valet service in the immediate future, Airport Director Paul Bradbury said.

“The existing facility is not improved to have people park and go – the lot is set up so it can only work as valet,” Bradbury said.

Purchasing the property required approval from the City Council but will be paid for out of the Jetport’s budget. The airport is run as an enterprise, so it has obligations to investors who hold its bonds but is not funded with Portland taxes or meant to be a financial liability to the city.

Plans to buy the property were included in a Jetport Master Plan approved by the council in 2016. Owner Tom Toye approached the Jetport to discuss a sale in 2019, but it was not prepared to act then, Bradbury said. The property was valued at $4.75 million.

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“Throughout this period the owner has been marketing this,” Bradbury said.

Toye opened Park’N Jet – which offered long-term parking for cars and a shuttle for travelers to the airport – in 2013.

After the coronavirus pandemic hit and U.S. aviation took a nosedive – with flights down 96 percent from normal pre-pandemic schedules – business at the Jetport and surrounding businesses dried up. Park’N Jet advertised car-washing and waxing through summer 2020, then announced a temporary closure that August. No one answered a phone call to the business Tuesday.

“As it is no surprise the Portland Jetport has been down on flights due to COVID-19 and this has a huge impact on our business,” the company posted on its Facebook page.  “We thank you for your support in the last couple months and we hope to see you all again in the near future.”

Park’N Jet never reopened, and the Jetport wanted to take the opportunity to immediately reopen some parking capacity and make sure it, not a third party, would own the property for future development.

In recent years, increased activity at the Jetport has forced some travelers into an overflow long-term parking lot two miles away. With passenger volumes back to pre-pandemic levels and holiday travel season approaching, the Jetport wants the lot back in action.

The parking lot is expected to earn the Jetport $300,000 in its first year of ownership, according to a memo to the city council. Parking makes up about a third of the Jetport’s $26.7 million annual budget.

“It was very important for me to make sure we kept this parcel and got it back into prior use as soon as possible,” Bradbury said.

In future years, the parcel could be developed for additional parking and roads that support the airport, he added.


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