AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin has been ordered to pay LoneStar Airport Holdings and Texas Capital Bank $90 million as a result of the city’s airport expansion and eminent domain efforts, according to reporting from the Austin Business Journal.
As part of expansion plans for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the City of Austin authorized eminent domain in June to take over the property where the South Terminal sits. The South Terminal is owned and operated by the private company LoneStar Airport Holdings, and is home to lower-cost airlines like Frontier.
The city entered into a 40-year lease and concession agreement with LoneStar Airport Holdings in March 2016. Back in June, the city was poised to pay LoneStar $1.9 million for the property based on its then-current appraised value.
LoneStar said it had invested more than $20 million in renovations into the South Terminal after entering into the multi-decade contract with the city. As a result, the company filed a lawsuit against the city in August.
Travis County special commissioners appointed to the eminent domain case decided on Friday the city would owe the company nearly 50 times the amount of its initial offer. Those commissioners then signed on that decision Monday.
Special commissioners said $90 million was more acceptable in covering the “total amount of damages” incurred by LoneStar through this eminent domain process, per court documents.
This all stems from AUS’ 2040 master plan, which includes expanding the Barbara Jordan Terminal and building a new airfield concourse at the airport. Construction of a new concourse means AUS will need to relocate its existing midfield taxiways, resulting in the city’s decision to close and remove the South Terminal.
Prior to evoking eminent domain, court documents said the city and LoneStar tried to reach an agreement on how much the city would pay the private company for the South Terminal property. When they couldn’t agree on that amount, it prompted the city to authorize its use of eminent domain.