Road Worrier Blog

Urban Land Institute will help Raleigh-Durham airport make money from idle acres

A panel of land development specialists will fly into Raleigh-Durham International Airport next spring to help RDU find valuable uses for 1,600 acres of undeveloped airport real estate.

The Urban Land Institute agreed Thursday to conduct an RDU land-use planning study with the help of eight to 10 outsiders including an economist, a developer and planners. They’ll make their recommendations after spending a week studying the airport and interviewing Triangle business and government leaders.

Michael Landguth, the airport director, said RDU is looking for new ways to generate revenue.

“One of the greatest assets the airport owns is its property,” Landguth said in a news release. “How should RDU responsibly use its land that is not designated for aeronautical purposes in a manner that benefits the region, provides additional long-term revenue to the Airport Authority and complements the airport’s operation?”

The 5,000-acre airport sits between Umstead State Park and Research Triangle Park in western Wake County and includes a base for an Army National Guard Apache helicopter unit. Much of its land is wooded, and RDU has begun plans for selective logging.

The study will exclude land used for airport functions or set aside for expected expansion – including an eventual runway that would be built west of RDU’s two main runways.

The nonprofit Urban Land Institute, based in Washington, D.C., advises communities on land use. RDU agreed to pay $125,000 for the study.