Cape Girardeau looks for back up plan to Commander building

By Christy Millweard - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation is housed in a building just outside the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport. But if it doesn't pay some bills soon, the city might find a new tenant.

"We're selling the building," said Scott Meyer, Cape Girardeau City Manager.

That's something the city has been trying to do for years.

"We've been patient with him, we think it's an outstanding deal for the city," said Meyer.

That is, if the deal ever takes off. The city has been trying to sell the 52,000 square foot building right outside the airport up until 2005 when Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation wanted the space to build and service planes.

"We want to continue to pursue, but we can't wait forever," said Meyer.

"Unfortunately we've just had some bad deals that have been unable to materialize," said Chairman of the Airport Advisory Board Craig Bohnsack.

In case the money never lands, the airport and city, are looking into a backup plan. Meyer said that could be anything from a second fueling station, to renting out the hanger as private plane storage.

"There is a demand for hanger space, so we could most definitely put some planes in there," said Bohnsack.

But the payment plan the city is on, doesn't allow any of those options right now.

"The hanger, the facility, could only be used for airplane manufacturing," said Bohnsack.

And that's what the airport advisory board suggests changing.

"Getting the manufacturing requirement released from us, which April is the first opportunity we have for that, is important," said Meyer.

April is when the city can refinance its bonds, which is where the restrictions lie. If the city decides to change directions, Commander Aircraft might have to leave sooner, rather than later.

"It's a lot easier to market an empty clean building than it is a building that is filled with equipment and machinery," said Bohnsack.

Now the city needs to decide if it will continue to wait and stay on board with the current plan, or choose to go in a new direction.

Meyer says the next step in the process is to evaluate the alternative options, and present them to the city council for a final decision. No word yet on when that might be.

Heartland News tried to contact Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation, but a representative said they had no comment.

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