The Polk County Aviation Authority, which operates the Ankeny Regional Airport, is selling 16 acres of its property that earlier this year was rezoned to allow development of office or industrial space, hotels or restaurants.

The land is located just south of the airport in an area that includes Hampton Inn and Suites, a driver's license station and offices for the Iowa Department of Transportation, and offices for the Baker Group.

The authority is asking $3.27 million for the 16 acres, although it is willing to sell the parcel in smaller pieces.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay for future improvements at the airport, which opened in 1994 and serves executive and corporate travel, freight operations and general aviation in the Des Moines area.

"The FAA determined it was excess airport property," Derek Lord, Ankeny’s economic development director, said of the land that is for sale. "They gave the airport authority to dispose of it."

Use of the airport, the third-busiest in Iowa, is growing. The facility averages 133 aircraft operations – landings or takeoffs – per day, data on its website shows. Currently, 111 aircraft are based at the airport, according to the website, and there is a waiting list of about 40 pilots who would lease hangar space if it were available.

Before the property was put up for sale, water and sewer was extended to the parcel. In addition, Southeast Convenience Boulevard was extended in a project that cost about $1.3 million, according to the airport’s website. The street will provide access to the south end of the airport where a terminal is planned.

"The land is shovel-ready," said Jennifer Sease, administrative services director.

Plans call for the airport to expand its north-south runway by 500 feet, making it 6,000 feet long. Before that could happen, however, the airport needed an approach area that was clear of obstructions, Lord said.

The aviation authority in 2016 paid $730,000 for 3.3 acres at 2660 S.E. Oak Tree Court, Polk County assessor records show. A year later, it paid $844,000 for about 5 acres just west of the Oak Tree Court tract.

Lord said the runway would likely be extended within about five years.

"The funding will come from the FAA, so we really can’t speculate on when funds would be available," he said.