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International Airport As Real Estate Speculation

The first new international airport in America in more than a decade is taking form in Florida panhandle. It's part of a broad effort to turn the region into a destination -- and a valuable real estate development.
March 11, 2010, 10am PST | Nate Berg
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"Northwest Florida Beaches International, is also noteworthy because it is perhaps more of a real estate project than an effort to address a pressing transportation problem. Backed by a major Florida landowner, it is part of a plan to create 'a new national and international destination,' as one investor presentation proclaims, in a relatively sleepy region of beaches, barrier islands and wetlands.

'Silicon Valley at one point was out in the middle of nowhere,' said Britt Greene, president and chief executive of the St. Joe Company, the Florida developer that donated the land for the new airport and is the driving force behind the project. 'We think we can do the same.'"

The project is costing more than $300 million for what some say is an airport nobody needed. But its developers hope the new facilities will increase air traffic and visitors to the region.

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Published on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 in The New York Times
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