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Falcon Field Airport in Mesa. (Photo: City of Mesa)

Mesa's Falcon Field Airport, the fifth busiest general-aviation airport in the nation, is poised to get even busier.

One of the last big swaths of vacant land at the airport will be developed to include large aircraft hangars and office and manufacturing space for new and expanding aviation companies.

Davcon Aviation and Mesa Hangar will build the project on 23 acres of city-owned land on the northwest side of Falcon Field, which is near McDowell and Greenfield roads.

Lynn Spencer, the airport's Economic Development Project Manager, said more than 50 companies have approached airport officials in the past two years wanting to expand or relocate, but there hasn't been hangar space to accommodate them.

The airfield plays a pivotal role in Mesa's economic future, with large aerospace and defense agencies calling the area home. 

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The latest area to be developed at Mesa's Falcon Field is depicted in red. (Photo: City of Mesa)

What's planned and when

The new development, expected to cost between $35 million and $45 million, will include more than 340,000 square feet of large aircraft hangar space in addition to ancillary office space. Initial design concepts show hangars ranging from 5,000 to 60,000 square feet.

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More than 750 airplanes are based at Falcon Field. There is no estimate on how many more could be accommodated through the expansion, Spencer said.

The project is expected to be complete by November 2021.

Falcon Field's past and future

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An anniversary celebration at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa in June 1991. The Mayor, British consul and Air Force pilots dedicated a plaque to RAF pilots who trained at Falcon Field during WWII. (Photo: Phoenix Gazette)

The developers will lease 23 acres from the city for 40 years. The lease is expected to bring the city an estimated $11 million in that time, Spencer said.

The airport sprawls across 784 acres, about 50 of which have yet to be developed.

The airport's transformation has been 78 years in the making.

Falcon Field opened in 1941 to train U.S. and British pilots. In 1948, three years after World War II ended, the federal government deeded the airport to the city.

Airport is a jobs hub

Falcon Field is a self-sustaining, city-owned airport that saw more than 290,000 takeoffs or landings daily in 2018.

The airport is home to 108 businesses that employ more than 1,400 people. About 300 of them work at the airport's largest employer, aerospace manufacturer MD Helicopters.

Boeing, among Mesa's largest employers with more than 3,600 employees, is adjacent to Falcon Field.

Airport Director Corinne Nystrom said prospective new tenants are attracted to the services offered there.

"Once you have a very strong business hub going, it continues to grow because you have an energy growing and people say, 'I want to be at that airport because it's so dynamic,'" she said.

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Have a Mesa news tip? Reach the reporter at lindsey.collom@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4803. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyCollom.

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10/7-4/21: Downtown Mesa Festival of the Arts -
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Mesa is Arizona's third largest city with a population approaching 500,000. Here's a look at Mesa's 10 largest employers. David Wallace, David Wallace/The Republic>FullscreenJason Redd (center) works with Angel Meza (left) and
1. Mesa Public Schools is Arizona's largest school district, with 8,469 employees.   Mark Henle/The Republic>FullscreenVA orthopedic surgeon Michael Dersam, right, performs a knee arthroscopy on US Army veteran Randy Kusch, 58, as Banner Health scrub technician Gilbert Flores, left, assists at the Phoenix Surgicenter, Thursday, June 16, 2016.
2. Banner Health, 8,275 employees. Tom Tingle, Tom Tingle/The Republic>FullscreenNo. 45: Boeing Co. | Commercial/military aircraft,
3. Boeing, 3,642 employees.  The Republic>FullscreenMichael Wesley’s lawsuit against the city of Mesa and the six officers who participated in his arrest alleges they used excessive force and inflicted emotional and physical pain on him.
4. The City of Mesa, 3,582 employees. Cheryl Evans/The Republic>Fullscreen126294 drivetime
5. DriveTime Automotive, 1,276 employees. Photo by: The Republic>FullscreenPeckham Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation organization
6. 24-7 Intouch, 1,200 employees.  Getty Images/iStockphoto>FullscreenNo. 1: Gilbert Unified School District. Employs 3,572.
7. Gilbert Unified School District, with 1,029 employees, stretches into Mesa. Nick Oza/The Republic>FullscreenMaricopa County Sheriff's Office marked vehicle
8. Maricopa County, 1,020 employees.  Nathan J. Fish/The Republic >FullscreenIs the Great Seal of Arizona really all that great? You decide.
9. The State of Arizona, 827 employees.  State of Arizona>FullscreenMountain Vista Medical Center, hiring 150. The Mesa
10. Mountain Vista Medical Center, 820 employees.  Mountain Vista Medical Center>Fullscreen

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