Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2013, 9:30 pm

Chronology of Elliott's history at Q-C airport

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

Over the last 40 years, Elliott Aviation frequently has received public support for its operations at the Quad City International Airport, according Dispatch/Rock Island Argus archives, airport leases, and documents from the Rock Island County Recorders office.

In April 1977, after the airport told Elliott and Deere & Co. they had to move out of the main terminal to a site south of the airport runways, Elliott requested the airport pay for the public facilities in its new building because the company served as a general aviation terminal.

Elliott's owner said the cost of the new building, $1.5 million, was more than the business could support. The Metropolitan Airport Authority agreed in principle to pay some of Elliott's relocation expenses.

In June of 1977, the airport was proposing to build a $975,000 facility for Elliott and pay the company special relocation expenses. Elliott countered with a request for a $1.2 million facility.

Negotiations continued for more than a year, with each party making various offers, but an impasse resulted. On July 7, 1978, the airport board rescinded its agreement with Elliott and instructed airport manager George Kirk to begin searching for a new fixed-base operator to take Elliott's place.

Four days later, a vice president of Elliott said he was confident something would be worked out, and there was a need for further negotiations because the airport's proposed lease "guarantees our demise in a couple of years.".

On Aug. 1, 1978, Elliott and the airport board signed a 30-year lease. The airport agreed to pay $550,000 of the construction costs of the building. Elliott agreed to pay construction costs above $550,000.

For relocation, the airport agreed to pay up to $200,000 for parking, aprons, taxiways, ramps and security fencing. Building rent was set at $55,200 annually, to be lowered if construction cost less than $550,000.

Ground rent was set at $24,990 annually, in addition to building rent. Ground rent was to be adjusted every third year based on the CPI. Elliott could buy the building at anytime. Elliott had to pay building insurance.

Other mileposts:

December 1979 -- Elliott moves into its new building.

Nov. 1, 1980 -- Lease amended to cover a building addition. Airport agrees to pay $500,000 for construction and building rent would be $52,500.

Aug. 1, 1986 -- Elliott buys original building and addition from airport for $947,471. Ground rent continues to be charged.

May 1, 1998 -- A third lease amendment replaces all previous amendments. The new document requires Elliott pay the airport six-tenths of one percent of its gross receipts above $12.5 million each year, beginning July 1, 1999. Base amount would be adjusted every May 1 for changes in the CPI. Elliott agreed to construct and operate "at its sole expense, a new hangar and other improvements on the demised premises."

Dec. 1, 1998 -- A fourth lease amendment provides the airport would issue $2.2 million in airport development revenue bonds to pay for construction of a new building for Elliott In return, the company conveys (sells) its buildings and improvements to the airport for $10. Elliott agrees its building rent will equal to the annual bond payments starting Jan. 1, 1999, through December 2018.

An addendum to the lease shows the fixed annual rent was set at $122,223.

Sept. 1, 2001 -- Airport board agrees to give Elliott Aviation a 10-year abatement of property taxes that would otherwise be charged on a proposed expansion of the firm's paint and repair facility. Similar abatements were agreed to by Rock Island County, Black Hawk College, and the Moline School District.

March 1, 2002 -- Fifth lease amendment adds more land to Elliott's ground lease, 130,025 square feet for $20,808 a year. The lease states Elliott wouldn't be charged rent until three years later, March 1, 2005. Lease can be extended for four successive 10 year periods and one five-year period.

March 7, 2002 -- Elliott breaks ground on its $6 million, 48,000-square-foot painting facility.

Feb. 1, 2013 -- Gov. Pat Quinn signs bill exempting Elliott from all real-estate taxes.