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A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
Page 177
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 10
credit issued from our bank.
On the last day of April, we were contacted
by the City of Austin and notified our permit
had been granted.
Location, Location, Location
Recall that Howard Hill's design was in-
tended for Houston Executive Airport, yet by
the time we were ready to break ground, I'd
begun work on Austin Executive Airport and
had decided to hold off constructing the ter-
minal building in Houston. In time, I chose
to transplant Howard's terminal design from
Houston to Austin. Why is a bit hard to ex-
plain. For now I can tell you that I believed the
building could make a bigger splash in Austin.
The City of Austin was growing, it desperately
needed a general aviation airport, demand for
hangar space was high, and the only nearby
airport, Austin-Bergstrom International, was
primarily dedicated to commercial air traffic.
Whether all of those reasons led me in the
right direction, whether planting my multi-
million dollar homage-to-the-Golden-Days-of-
Aviation in Austin rather than Houston was a
good idea, I have no idea. I do know I wanted
Austin Executive Airport to be a success, and
showcasing Howard's design in the state's
capitol was one way to ensure it.
(As an aside, I installed modest temporary
terminal and office buildings at the Houston
Executive Airport. Once the Austin Executive
Airport is up and running, I will likely repli-
cate the Austin terminal at the Houston Ex-
ecutive Airport.)
Start Over, Redesign,
or Build It As Is
Howard and I had archived the project for
about a year, and when it was time, I hired
a local Austin architect, Randy Fromberg, to
update the drawings to meet the City of Aus-
tin's building standards.
The first thing Randy did was take a look at
costs. He estimated the building would take
around $3.5 million to build as is, without any
alterations to Howard's design. At the same
time, Randy felt we had several options.
Option A: He could design something simi-
lar, though smaller, for considerably less,
maybe as much as $1.5 million less. If we
started over, Randy would need three months
to draft a new design and prepare construc-
tion drawings, and more months to send the
drawings out to bid, all of which would soak
up time, add to the cost of design, but signifi-
2011. Aerial view looking north.
Photo courtesy of David Hannah III.