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Thread: Still hope for Manston?

  1. #1
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    Still hope for Manston?

    THE American firm behind the failed bid for Manston airport says it is still in talks to buy the site and plans to use it as a cargo hub.

    RiverOaks Investment Corp LLC, of Stamford Connecticut, says the experience of one of its senior team members in refinancing Alliance Fort Worth Airport in Texas has proven cargo-led airports can be viable.

    Alliance Fort Worth is owned by the City of Fort Worth and operated by privately-held Alliance Aviation Services, a subsidiary of Hillwood Development Company, LLC.

    It is the world's first industrial airport and is the centrepiece of a 17,000 acre development known as AllianceTexas , which includes homes, inland port transportation, office complexes, shops, schools and churches as well as the airport.

    The site, first planned as a reliever airport until discussions turned to an industrial project, first opened in 1989 and now handles more than 137,600 operations per year.

    Major tenants include BNSF Railway, Bell Helicopter Textron, Drug Enforcement Administration, DynCorp International andFedEx Express.

    RiverOak spokesman Tony Freudmann, previously the senior vice president of the Planestation group, said: “RiverOak have advised that one of their executives was involved in a major refinancing exercise for Alliance Fort Worth Airport in Texas a few years ago. It is an entirely cargo airport (apart from general aviation). It was that exercise and a careful analysis of what has happened since which taught RiverOak that cargo hubs can be successful in their own right and also gave them important links with some of the major users of Alliance Fort Worth.

    “They see Manston as a cargo hub. They want to develop its existing perishables business, for which it enjoys an excellent reputation. They also plan to persuade those carriers who fly freighters into Heathrow to switch to Manston. In addition they plan to use their established relationships via Alliance Fort Worth to bring in new business.

    “They are not ruling out passenger traffic in the medium to long term, but for now cargo will be the priority.”

    RiverOaks had a £5 million offer for the airport rejected this month. Last Tuesday it was announced the airport would close on May 15.

    But Mr Freudmann has confirmed there is “ongoing dialogue” between the company and owner Ann Gloag’s representatives.
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  2. #2
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    The fat lady has yet to take the stage at Manston, despite the efforts from north of the border to push her on!!

    http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-bus...closure-18810/
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  3. #3
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    Another nail in the coffin.
    All the airport equipment is being auctioned - most of it at the end of this month...

    http://www.airportsinternational.com...uctioned/15748

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    True but Roger Gale, one of two local MP's leading the campaign for a Compulsory Purchase Order commented:

    "Much of what is on sale is past its best and any new operator would be looking to replace and refresh equipment more suited to the tasks generated by the new business that Manston will attract. The Transport Select Committee’s planned inquiry into regional airports will offer a political opportunity to air the true facts surrounding what I regard as the temporary closure of Manston and in due course I shall also be seeking a further adjournment debate. “The inquiry that a Compulsory Purchase Order will almost certainly generate will additionally offer the chance to get the facts on the record and to expose the manner in which potential business opportunities have been squandered”.

    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  5. #5
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    I hope Manston can be saved from being turned into a housing estate, but the loss by tender of the ATC tower and fuel farm facilities would be an extra headache for any potential new owner.
    Strictly speaking, the comment about he equipment being "past its best" may by true as far as some equipment goes but the sale still slows everything down in terms of trying to get the place operational again.
    Good luck to those fighting to reopen it.

  6. #6
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    Despite the sale of 80% of the shares it looks as though the fat lady is yet to sing!!

    http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/North...ail/story.html
    Charlie

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  8. #8
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    We know that 80% of the shares have sold - my post and that article was made subsequently!

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    Now look what the local press has turned up.

    Proper journalism for once

    You'll need a quiet half hour to read and follow, but it is eye-opening

    http://thaneteye.wordpress.com/

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  10. #10
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    This is probably why the council is still considering a compulsory purchase order in favour of River Oak, whose offer on the terms required by Mrs Gloag, was rejected by her.
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moggy C View Post
    Now look what the local press has turned up.

    Proper journalism for once


    Moggy
    If that is all true then it is pretty damning, and suggests KCC may not have done detailled research into the entity that is buying the airport. Unfortunately it wouldn't be the first time a local council was found to have been a little less than thorough in its research, and have backed the wrong horse in a race.

    Perhaps they (KCC) were dazzled by the promise of lots of new jobs/new businesses in the area, and were so impressed by a slick presentations that they didn't check there was any real substance behind it.

    And, ultimately, as the airport is private property and not (so far as I understand it) a KCC owned amenity to sell, they have little say in the transaction. They can recommend or support one bid more than another, but beyond that they are not really involved (are they?).

    It's essentially a private deal beyond the remit of KCC, all KCC can do is try to help 'facilitiate' it by making the right noises if asked by the bidders about possible planning proposals, redevelopment etc. Given the public concern over the sale and future employment etc KCC will probably have been trying to put positive "spin" on the deal given the unemployment in the Thanet area, rather than checking whether the bidder had the track record to deliver on those (somewhat vague) promises anyway.


    Of course, the press report in the link does seem to show some dealings that were not widely publicised, but that were presumably in the public domain if you knew which stones to look under, and that some people may have been (ahem) economical with the info they gave out, but I suspect no-one has done anything illegal - I imagine the "suits" involved would have been clever enough to employ sufficient legal talent to ensure they (just) stayed on the right side of the law at each stage.

    Doesn't exactly cover the bankers involved, the potential purchasers themselves, nor others named in the deal in glory though does it, and KCC may end up looking less than fully competent to help facilitate such a major deal on "their patch".


    What worries me more is that the purchaser is the same bunch who took over the old Pfizer site at Sandwich...surely it can't be good to allow the same developer to take over two major chunks of real estate so close together - but I guess that goes back to my point that KCC are not really involved as such, neither Pfizer nor Manston sites were/are theirs to sell, KCC are essentially only onlookers, albeit with an interest in that they would (presumably) hope to see the sites' new owners bring employment and skills into Thanet?

    And of course, if the deal(s) ever fell over, or the site(s) ended up being part of a failed business, KCC would probably end up having to step in and bail out various parties affected by the failure, while assorted "suits" faded quietly into the background, no doubt without having lost any of their own cash along the way.... twas always thus...

  12. #12
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    But, as discussed earlier, or in a different thread, Thanet Council will decide whether or not to grant a compulsory purchase order in favour of the only bidder in the frame. River Oak. The Council is taking long enough to examine their bid and so one would hope they will also have undertaken due diligence in their consideration of planning permission to Messrs Musgrave and Cartner, under whichever nameplate they have made their offer.
    Charlie

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moggy C View Post

    Proper journalism for once


    http://thaneteye.wordpress.com/

    Moggy
    Presumably Mrs Gloag knows who she has got into bed with and that Messrs Musgrave and Cartner are aware of the opposition to any development of Manston as anything other than an airfield. Clearly at the end of the day they think that their legal eagles will be able to ride all over the opposition. And as PaulF says it is a private sale.

    It is not clear to me how a CPO would work but I am sure that without one they will be able to successfully defeat Thanet Council over planning permission. Clearly Mrs Gloag knew the opposition to her intentions for the site before she bought it and was more than confident that she would get her way in the long term otherwise she would not have invested substantial amounts of money. Or is there money to be made from the CPO?

    This could well be a very long term project and as someone has said Land Banking.

    The gifting of the freehold for the museum is obviously very welcome but, like the rest of the hype just window dressing, look what nice people we are.

  14. #14
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    Yes for sure to the last point. There is no money to be made out of the CPO per se except that presumably River Oak believe they can make money from a cargo operation there for a relatively small investment.

    One day we might get know the machinations of the last several months and the many more to come before Manston's future is finally resolved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehunt View Post
    One day we might get know the machinations of the last several months and the many more to come before Manston's future is finally resolved.
    Yes indeed, and in the meantime it is such a shame to see the weeds taking over (figuratively speaking, and by now no doubt literally too...) what was until a few months ago a perfectly serviceable airport...

  16. #16
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    Yes - very dispiriting indeed.
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  17. #17
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    A team from River Oak are in Kent for talks about Manston.

  18. #18
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    Last year I was returning from a day-trip to northern France

    I hit a VMC/IMC issue mid-channel, and was hugely grateful for the help of Manston Radar.

    I so hope they will return.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

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    Are there any aircraft trapped at the Airfield? Either airworthy or non airworthy?

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    Three I think but none airworthy. There was talk of the DC8 going to the Lelystad museum a few years ago.

  21. #21
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    The Thanet Council plan foresees Manston as an airport and no housing developments for the site are included in the plan.

  22. #22
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    I went there back in August and all I saw was a partially stripped 747 and a cimplete but permanently grounded DC 8...don't recall a third

  23. #23
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    It's been tucked away the other side of TG Aviation for years....
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  24. #24
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    In the face of strong criticism from the bidders and elsewhere Thanet Council look likely to vote this week against a CPO in favour of River Oak thus ending any likelihood of Manston's revival as an airport.

  25. #25
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    Water has been flowing under the bridge in the last few weeks:

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/co...-airports-ev2/
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  26. #26
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    Thanks for posting.
    Am I right in saying first group are going to be justifying what has happened and are all involved with Mrs Gloag and financially involved.

    The second group are all councils with an MP. Presumably none experts in aviation. Do we know which way they will jump? Either way they have a financial interest.

    Third group appear to be campaign groups.

    http://www.savemanstonairport.org.uk/wordpress/
    http://www.whynotmanston.org/

    Dr Beau Webber is a research scientist at Canterbury Uni. He has a large web presence but does not seem to mention his involvement with Manston.

    Not represented but there is also

    http://www.supportmanstonairport.org/

    What I do not see is any independent aviation experts.

    I am really surprised that the Mrs G has not had the runway grubbed up as this is what a lot of developers do now move in and demolish everything so there is no going back. This is what happended in Sealand where the Developer agreed with local historians that they could record the WW1 buildings but then immediately pulled them down. At the time they had no planning permission I think this was back in 2010 or 11. Needless to say the project is called The Airfields.

    To avoid any doubt I strongly think that Manston should be kept open and go further than that in that all airfields should be ring fenced and no housing development allowed.

    Paul

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    Rivetting stuff.

    Better than Borgen

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

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    Paul - you have the groups about right except t that River Oak is the US company who met all Mrs Gloag's demands matching exactly what she had demanded and their bid was still rejected by her. She subsequently sold 80% to a pair of developers, whose business was rather suddenly moved to the Channel Islands!! Which is when the whole affair started to get a nasty smell and after much internecine fighting it has come to the Transport Committee. Why there are no aviation experts called I have no idea and whether the big bucks will have thew final say remains to be seen. But they usually do!!
    Last edited by charliehunt; 2nd February 2015 at 18:43.
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul1867 View Post
    Dr Beau Webber is a research scientist at Canterbury Uni. He has a large web presence but does not seem to mention his involvement with Manston.
    He was representing the locals who want Manston saved and he was embarrassingly poor.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

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    Thanks Charlie, now you have said about RiverOak I remember who they are, getting old.

    I did read all of the Thaneteye which Moggy posted which made very interesting reading especially in relation to the goings on associated with the two developers. Regrettably I did not download the site and it has now gone, I wonder why?

    I’m sure your absolutely right, money rules.
    Just need to find time to listen to the Select Committee.

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