The time has finally arrived — the new U.S. Customs and Border Protection Facility at Boca Raton Airport is getting off the ground. Crews from Lake Worth-based West Construction are set to begin work this month on the 4,700-square-foot facility. Airport officials say it will take $4.3 million and about one year to complete the building.
As is, international flights have to first stop at nearby airports before landing in Boca Raton. The new facility will provide those flights a safer, more efficient way to land, without having to clear customs at other airports. The new facility will also be equipped to service the local boating community upon arrival in Boca from foreign ports, said Gene Folden, chair of the Boca Raton Airport Authority board. Right now, captains arriving in Boca from international trips have to take their passengers to ports in Riviera Beach or Fort Lauderdale to clear customs.
“We’re very excited that the project is finally getting underway,” said Clara Bennett, executive director of the Boca Raton Airport Authority. “The airport itself is an economic engine in the greater Boca Raton community. The new customs facility provides an additional opportunity to promote Boca Raton to an international audience.”
The timing of the expanded services aligned perfectly for Kolter Urban, developers of Moderne Boca, a new luxury mid-town home community located within a few miles of the airport. The firm released the first 30 of its 75 residences just last week, and the convenience of the local airport was highlighted as a part of the sales release. “The Boca Raton lifestyle is all about having the best of everything you need right at your fingertips,” says Bob Vail, President of Kolter Urban. “Moderne Boca is attracting homebuyers who want the ultimate low-maintenance lifestyle without sacrificing on quality or design. Most are frequent travelers who will take advantage of the added Customâ??s convenience, especially heading to and from the Bahamas.”
Currently, most pilots heading to Boca’s airport from out of the country choose to first land 10 miles south at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport because it’s free and easy to get in and out of, said Folden. Pilots of larger aircraft, however, stop at Palm Beach International Airport or Fort Lauderdale International Airport before continuing on to Boca, he said.
Going from one airport to another is straining for the crew, Folden said. “There’s just a lot of moving parts when trying to do multiple takeoffs and landings in such a short period of time,” he said. These pit stops also could cost pilots thousands of dollars in fuel consumption and wear and tear on the aircraft, Folden said. And the process could take at least an hour.
The ability to clear international flights may also result in increased business dealings within Boca’s corporate community, said Jessica Del Vecchio, the city’s economic development manager. “Added efficiency, convenience and productivity are definite wins for Boca Raton,” she said.
“There had been a lot of demand by airport tenants and airport users to fly directly home from international trips,” Bennett said.
Edited from Article in the Sun Sentinel