Warwick, RI — The Airport Road dome, a geodesic hemisphere vehicle shelter and long-time landmark just north of TF Green Airport, will be leveled sometime this summer to make way for a new refuel and maintenance station for Enterprise Rent-A-Car vehicles.
Enterprise will sub-lease the 5.44 acres the dome sits on at 561 Airport Road from the RI Airport Corporation. The RIAC leases the land from the state, said interim CEO and President of the RI Airport Corporation Peter Frazier.
That lease agreement will be for up to 30 years, renewable in 5-year intervals. Enterprise’s rent on that parcel begins April of next year, at $260,000 per month. The deal provides additional revenue to RIAC operations, Frazier said.
Enterprise will also lease the nearby lot at 101 Hallene Road, where an existing building will be converted into administrative offices, from owner Marley Realty LLC. Combined, the lots equal 8.5 acres.
The site will house rental vehicles in between uses, allowing the company to refuel, clean and maintain them before sending the cars back into service at the InterLink Transportation Hub on Jefferson Boulevard. The interlink, accessible via the skybridge from the airport, pools all the rental agencies serving TF Green.
About $6 million in improvements to the property, including landscaping, is planned, and since the cars won’t be rented from the location, the impact to area traffic will be negligible, according to Rep. Joe Shekarchi (D- 23, Warwick), who represented Enterprise before the Planning Board and Zoning Board.
“The site will be beautified dramatically,” Shekarchi said. “It’s been vacant, it’s been un-utilized, for over 10 years.”
The dome once provided shelter to airport plows and maintenance vehicles, but hasn’t been used since 2008, when the maintenance center was relocated within the main airport property, said Frazier. That move allowed the airport to avoid moving vehicles across the street when they were needed, he said.
During construction, the project will create about 30 jobs. After, Enterprise will employ about 20 people at the spot, Shekarchi said.
The City will also realize new tax revenue once the deal is complete, about 30 percent of the assessed real estate value of the RIAC sub-leased land, as part of a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement, said Frazier. That will be added to whatever the combined real estate value and building value is eventually assessed at the 101 Hallene Road parcel.
The City Council still needs to approve the plan, which will require abandoning a portion of Hallene Road.