Cape council gives deadline to plane maker

Friday, October 15, 2004

Business Today

Renaissance Aircraft will have until Nov. 1 to make bond and lease payments totaling more than $61,000 or face eviction from a city-owned hangar at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

The City Council set that deadline in a closed-door meeting Oct. 4 after the financially troubled company failed to make all the payments that city officials said were due Oct. 1.

Mayor Jay Knudston said Renaissance Aircraft president John Dearden has indicated he expects to secure additional capital within the next two weeks.

The mayor said the council doesn't want to be stuck with an empty hangar. The city owns both the hangar and the land on which it sits.

Dearden paid $4,585 of the nearly $65,000 that Cape Girardeau officials said Renaissance owed the city and United Missouri Bank by Oct. 1 to avoid defaulting on its lease and bond-issue agreement.

Eric Rowe, Dearden's attorney in Washington, D.C., said he had yet to review the city's statement or the amount that city officials say is owed.

Rowe said on Oct. 5 he and his client would look at all the financial alternatives.

The city sold $2.6 million in bonds to construct a hangar for Renaissance and pay for the extension of water and sewer lines to serve the business.

As part of the conditions of the bond issue, the hangar has to be used for aviation manufacturing, city officials said.

Renaissance Aircraft relocated from Eastman, Ga., to Cape Girardeau in 2001 with promises of manufacturing hundreds of two-seater propeller planes a year and creating at least 200 new jobs.

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