North County Airport Expansion Rendering

Verdex Construction was chosen by Index Aviation to be involved in the project covered in a November 23, 2014 article in the “Palm Beach Post”: North County Airport expansion to add more than 80 jobs Posted: 11:25 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014 By Tony Doris – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The North County Airport is getting a $5 million facility with space for offices, flight instruction and aircraft management and storage, while giving the airport annual rent of more than $43,000.

Officials of Index Aviation and Platinum Aviation, the two firms combining in the effort, anticipate they’ll need to lease beyond the initial 5 acres and expand shortly after completing the project.

The facility, which the firms are paying for, will include a 22,000-square-foot, two-story building joined with a 30,000-square-foot hangar. There will be two flight simulators and an aircraft testing lab and machine shop connected to the hangar.

The structures are being designed by Song and Associates, the West Palm Beach architects who designed that city’s library and government complex.

Index, based in Stockholm, has its North American headquarters in Jupiter. The company, led locally by Bjarne Borg, invests in aviation and housing in Florida, where it has had a presence for 10 years.

When the firm’s 184-apartment High Ridge project opens in Boynton Beach by 2016, Index will have built 500 apartments in the county, including Dakota at Abacoa and Bridgewater in Lantana. It plans to open Riverwalk Pointe in Jupiter in December. The firm also has built adult-living facilities in Orlando and is working on a project in Marathon, as well as its first condo project, called the Riva, in Fort Lauderdale.

The firm is looking to extend its aviation interests throughout Florida and beyond, Borg said Thursday.

Platinum, whose president is Johnny Stinson, has been active in Palm Beach County aviation for 40 years, including work at the Pahokee and Lantana airports and 20 years in various aviation businesses at North County Airport. Platinum is half-owned by Stinson Aviation Holdings and half-owned by Index Aviation.

Platinum is heavily involved in flight training and aircraft charter, maintenance and management.

Stinson said that with the new facility he expects to go from five mechanics to 21; from six flight instructors to 18; from five charter pilots to 20 or 30. He expects to add 10 to 12 administrative and maintenance staffers, up from four, he said.

Overall, including avionics and other employees, he predicts that the expansion will take Platinum from 16 employees locally to nearly 100.

North County opened on an 1,800-acre patch of land off the Beeline Highway in 1994. The newest of the county’s airports, it has grown quickly and has little vacant office or hangar space.

The aviation industry has strong demand for pilots, so he’s expecting that his flight instruction business will grow. With an increase in foreign students, particularly from Europe, he was considering adding dormitories to the project, but opted for now not to use the valuable airport property for that.

He also tries to work with local schools, to encourage high schoolers to get started in flight training. Oxbridge Academy, for one, has its own flight simulator, Stinson said.

“It’s a good way to get organizational skills for kids,” Born added.

“It’s going to be a needed and valuable addition to the North County Airport, said Stephen Mathison, the attorney who piloted Index through the county request for proposals process that led to the lease signing Nov. 18.