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GREENSBORO, NC-The $500 million FedEx hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport received clearance Thursday from the Federal Aviation Administration.

After numerous delays, the FAA finished the environmental impact statement and approved plans for the project, which includes a FedEx facility and a third runway.

The study is the final hurdle to formal FAA approval of the project. Had the FAA determined that the hub’s creation would too adversely affect the environment, the project would have been scrapped.

Construction of the first phase of the hub should be finished by 2005; phase two is slated for completion in 2010. FedEx will pay the estimated $300 million for construction of the facility.

FedEx’s presence will necessitate a new 9,000-foot runway, connecting taxiways and associated navigational aids and roadwork to support a new air cargo sorting and distribution facility at the airport, are also part of the package.

The estimated $160 million to $200 million runway construction and airfield improvements is expected to be funded by the FAA trust fund, Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) and the NC Department of Transportation.

According to Carter & Associates’ second-quarter report, there is an 18.27% vacancy rate in industrial property and 10.47% for office property in the Piedmont Triad Airport area.

Land values around the airport roughly doubled their normal appreciation last year because of construction of a new beltway, GlobeSt.com reported earlier this year. Once the plans for the hub are official, more development is expected.

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