The Gary-Chicago International Airport is marking a year of significant developments. The most recent involves Gary-based LEE Companies' selection as construction manager for a new customs facility, which will open up the airport for incoming international flights. Last month, LEE Companies completed the new Corporate Flight Center at the Gary Jet Center and B. Coleman Aviation recently opened a 40,000 square-foot hangar that is part of $20 million in planned investment.

The customs facility is expected to open next year and officials say it will help the airport "capture a broader segment of the Chicago Aviation Market," because international flights will no longer have to clear customs in another airport first before reaching Gary. A boon, LEE Companies says, for flights outside the U.S. with 20 passengers or fewer. Airport Executive Director Dan Vicari says "construction of the new Customs Facility will improve the airport's ability to compete and attract new fliers while enhancing our marketability to the corporate, cargo, and general aviation flying communities."

B. Coleman's vision includes the potential of four new hangars over the next seven years.

When the new Corporate Flight Center was first announced in January, Jet Center Chief Executive Officer Wil Davis called it "the crowning piece" in the center's flight experience efforts.