steps up as potential buyer of RM Airport
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
months of rumors, a real estate developer has confirmed
he is part of a group that has made an offer to buy Rancho
Murieta Airport. Doug Wiele, president of Foothill Partners,
said the airport would continue its operations if the group
Partners is the lead developer of Murieta Gardens, a 52-acre
project next to the airport that's planned for a shopping
center and 200 homes.
interest in the airport is with a group of investors completely
unrelated to the investor group that I represent with respect
to Murieta Gardens," Wiele said.
and others in the community have expressed concern that
the airport acreage would be developed as homes if a developer
bought the property. One of the potential challenges the
Murieta Gardens development faces is its proximity to the
ago, Wiele spoke at a Kiwanis Club meeting and declined
to offer any details about a possible airport sale, saying,
"There are lots of rumors out there that my company
or US Home is buying the airport. … I can tell you
I have a pretty good idea what is going on. I understand
there is a buyer at the table, and because I signed this
confidentiality agreement I am not at liberty to tell you
what I know. I know they have somebody."
He said he had
brought in some pilots he knows from the Bay Area who are
real estate investors to meet with the airport owners and
look at the property earlier this year and, because of this,
ended up signing a confidentiality agreement. He said the
airport owners required a confidentiality agreement "between
them and anybody that takes a look at their property to
days, Wiele has begun to tell people about the offer for
the airport, saying he is now able to speak more freely.
he said, "We're in escrow, but it's not
like buying a house. We're a long way from buying.
If we like what we see, we'll conclude the sale. …
I'm not the first person to have gotten this far and
then changed my mind. … But we're serious. We'll
see if we get there." He said it would be a month
or more before a decision is reached about going through
with the sale.
airport has not been a very profitable operation for the
current owner," he said. "We think there are
ways to make it operate at a profit."
of the issues the investors are considering relates to night
night operations permit was suspended in 2001 for safety
reasons related to trees growing near the runway. The airport
cut or trimmed the trees on its property, but the county
has refused to cut down the ones on its property.
Last year, the
airport took the matter to court and got a ruling in its
favor. The county is appealing the court's decision,
offer to purchase the airport fell through because it was
contingent on having both day and night operations.
airport, one of the first pieces of the Rancho Murieta development
to be built, has operated for 30 years. It is owned by the
estate of the late businessman Fred Anderson.