Camas company to build hangars at Grove Field airport

Immelman Hangars expects to start construction in March

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A sign greets visitors at the Port of Camas-Washougal's Grove Field airport, located north of Camas, Jan. 21, 2021. (Post-Record file photo)

A local business is planning to expand its stable of privately owned airplane hangars at Grove Field near Camas later this year.

Camas-based Immelman Hangars at Grove Field, LLC will build six hangars at Grove Field in 2024, Port of Camas-Washougal business Development Director Derek Jaeger said during a Port Commission meeting held Jan. 17.

“It feels great,” said Camas resident Scott Price, who formed Immelman Hangars at Grove Field in 2008, along with his wife, Denise, and longtime friend, John Anderson, a retired United Airlines pilot. “For us, it’s never been about the money. I mean, we’re just a small three-person company. We all have day jobs. Our goal was to … create something unique that the Port can be proud of and we can be proud of. We thought we were going to be done in 2020, so it feels good to finally get it done.”

In 2007, Anderson and the Prices secured a long-term lease for a 1-acre site at Grove Field that is owned and operated by the Port. The plan was to build two hangar sites and have an option for a third hangar site on another 1-acre site, with the intention of building and selling aircraft facilities to private pilots.

“(Denise and John and I) have been friends for a while, and we decided that there weren’t enough hangars around this area,” Scott Price said. “We actually did a project out in Seaside, Oregon, a few years earlier, and then we formed a new company, Immelman Hangars at Grove Field, LLC, with the idea of building hangars — not going bonkers like an apartment developer, but as the need came.”

The company constructed 17 hangars in two phases between 2007 and 2017. Its first building, with nine hangars, was completed in 2010, and its second building, with eight hangars, was completed in 2016. Since then, the company has “been in the permitting process for the third phase for some time,” Jaeger said.

The lease originally stated that the third phase had to be completed by Jan. 1, 2024. Port commissioners on Jan. 17, approved an amendment that pushes that completion date to Aug. 25, 2025.

“They’re looking at building (more hangars) this year,” Jaeger said. “The original language stated that they had to have construction completed by January this year, so we are extending that for another year to give them the time to put those spaces together.”

“This was something that they had been in the works with already,” Jaeger explained. “There was some delay during the COVID years … (and) the cost of items has changed and getting access to materials has been challenging.”

Scott Price said that construction will most likely start in March of this year.

The new hangars will be housed in two buildings and developed in spaces that are 50-by-50-feet and 50-by-60-feet, according to Jaeger. The amended lease states that the land to be developed is “to the west of Phase I and Phase II and not to exceed 24,660 square feet.”

“We’re currently working with them on exactly what the square footage of the leased area will be, and then we’ll adjust that accordingly,” Jaeger said.

Scott Price said he anticipates that the new hangars will sell quickly and pointed to the fast sales of his company’s first 17 hangars.

“(This project has) been very successful,” Scott Price said. “We were completely sold out before we started (the first two phases), we will be sold out (for the third phase) — I’ve got probably 18 names of folks that call me on a pretty regular basis. That makes it easier for us to do.”

He added that the hangar owners are in a “nonresidential condominium association, which allows them to have ownership of the interior of the hangar, just like a condo, essentially, and a little more privacy than they would get from renting a hangar from an airport somewhere.”

Scott Price said the hangar owners have formed a community.

“There are two (hangars) that are jointly owned, so there’s 19 owners, which is nice,” Scott Price said. “We all get along. They do barbecues every once in a while, that sort of thing. It’s like a little mini-community at the airport.”

In 2011, Port CEO David Ripp told The Columbian, The Post-Record’s sister publication, he preferred the Immelman lease to Port ownership, adding that 77 previously constructed hangars at Grove Field are owned by the Port of Camas-Washougal.

“The most important thing is the Port doesn’t have to put a whole bunch of money into facilities,” Scott Price said. “Their return on investment for hangars is typically about 20 years, whereas the only money they spent to get (our) buildings done was for some legal fees and a couple of environmental reports. Now, they get the lease money coming in. For them, it’s a bonus. And (our hangar owners) buy fuel there and use the maintenance facilities, so from that standpoint it’s a fantastic deal for the Port. That’s really our selling point.”

Scott Price said the third phase “will be it” for the development, but didn’t rule out the possibility of future projects at Grove Field.

“Whether we build at Grove Field again is up in the air,” he said. “It depends on what the market looks like and what the Port wants to do with the rest of the airport.”