Hyde Field, a 45-year-old airport in Prince George's County, has been sold to a Potomac businessman who plans to upgrade the facility for small jets and to develop an industrial park in the surrounding area.
William A. Albright, owner of a wholesale beer distributorship in Jessup, Md., said last week that he wants Hyde Field to become a "first-class airport" that will promote economic and industrial development in the county.
Albright bought the airport from Rockville investor Arthur C. Hyde for $1.5 million, he said.
Hyde, 74, built the airfield in 1940 on a rundown tobacco farm covering 300 acres near Clinton. During World War II, pilots were trained there and the Civil Air Patrol used it as a base for patrols scouting for enemy submarines along the Atlantic coast. Today, it lodges about 150 small single- and twin-engine planes and informally serves as a municipal airport for the area.
Among other improvements, Albright plans to extend the airport runway from its present 2,800 feet to at least 3,000 feet, enabling small jets to take off and land there. He also wants to bring a restaurant to the airfield and develop commercial buildings and offices on the property -- using the Montgomery County Airport in Gaithersburg as a model, he said. He has no timetable or cost estimates for his improvements.
"The location's fantastic," said Albright. "I'm excited about what it can do for the growth of Prince George's County."
With all his plans for improvement, Albright stressed that one thing about Hyde Field will not change: its name. "Hyde Field it is, and Hyde Field it will be," he said.