MARTINSBURG (AP) — Aero-Smith Inc. has bought a former aircraft assembly plant in the Eastern Regional Airport’s business park at a foreclosure auction.
Aero-Smith, the fixed based operator at the airport, submitted the winning bid of $435,000 during the auction Thursday on the steps of the Berkeley County Courthouse in Martinsburg, The Journal reported.
Under the sale’s terms, Aero-Smith will have to pay delinquent personal property taxes owed by the plant’s former owner, Aviation Solutions.
Aero-Smith President George Smith declined to discuss plans for the property, which includes 62,000 square feet of hangar and office space and has direct access to the airport’s airstrip.
“The economy got me — I tried,” Aviation Solutions president and founder Jason told the newspaper. “I’m happy Aero-Smith got it. It will be good for the airport and the community. I hope they’re able to do something with it.”
Tiger Aircraft opened the plant and produced four-seat general aviation airplanes from 2001 to 2006. Tiger declared bankruptcy in 2007.
Kuhn bought the plant in February 2011 and had planned to manufacture aircraft parts and offer aircraft maintenance and repair at the facility.
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority had authorized Aviation Solutions to issue up to $3.2 million in bonds for the operation.
The land on which the building sits is owned by the Eastern Regional Airport Authority.
In 2013, the airport authority declared Aviation Solutions in default on the land-lease payments and began legal proceedings to foreclose on the property. Aviation Solutions currently owes $57,000 in delinquent land-lease payments to the authority.
Wesbanco Bank Inc., the bond holder, will pay the delinquent land-lease payments with proceeds from the foreclosure sale.