Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Laptop Lane Pulls the Plug on Business Offices at JIA

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Laptop Lane Pulls the Plug on Business Offices at JIA

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher Calnan, Times-Union business writer

Laptop Lane turned out to be a dead-end street.

The business center that offered fully equipped small-scale offices for business travelers at Jacksonville International Airport closed last week, six months after it opened. The 572-square-foot space that includes four office cubicles is still stocked, and its owners are looking to make a deal with the airport to re-open with another operator.

Bill Swift, president of Atlanta-based Business Travel Services, said yesterday Laptop Lane was his company's "tenant operator" at JIA. He expects to work out a "combined solution" that could include some type of subsidy by the airport to reinstate the business as a service to JIA's many business travelers.

Swift said the deal could be finalized within the next 30 days. Without a subsidy, he can't envision a successful business center at JIA.

"There's certainly a demand," he said, "but the demand isn't strong enough for it to be there on its own."

Of Laptop Lane's 30 closed locations, six profitable sites have already been bought by other operators, Swift said. The lack of a buyer for the JIA location suggests that it isn't considered to be potentially profitable.

Adrian van Haaften, Laptop Lane's chief executive officer, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday at his office in Bellevue, Wash.

Bingham Parkinson, assistant director of business development of the Jacksonville Port Authority, said he should have a formal proposal by BTS early next week. About 68 percent of JIA customers are business travelers, which should contribute to the success of any type of business center there, he said.

"I think overall there's a definite need because of the type of airport we have," Parkinson said. "We're primarily a business airport."

The JIA location had two full-time workers and one part time before it closed, Swift said. …

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