Airport Lease Blocked by Macon Mayor

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Macon Mayor Robert Reichert refuses to sign and approve a business deal at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, even though it’s been approved by council members.

Danny Harrison has been trying to acquire a piece of land and a hanger at the Macon Regional Airport since September.

Harrison wants to take over a contract from a struggling company and extend the lease of the land. Macon Mayor Robert Reichert must sign off for the negotiation to be complete, but Reichert says the prized land requires a better business deal.

“This parcel is like the pin corner at an interstate interchange, the first lot on the right hand side of as you come off the interstate…and you don’t want to use the pin corner for a house,” said Reichert.

Mayor Reichert said the East Drive Parcels at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport is too valuable to go to a general aviation business and in this case, Danny Harrison.

The land is being leased right now to another tenant and Harrison is trying to take over the existing lease that lasts another 8 years, and wants to extend the lease 25 years.

City councilman Mike Cranford says allowing a general aviation business in the area limits bigger business from expanding.

“Buildings have to have height restrictions because of the airport and on certain portions of the property the building height can not extend just so high. So if for instance the company that is there wants to expand, the only way it could expand is into this area where these hangers are located that Mr. Harrison wants to lease,” said Cranford.

Mayor Reichert says tying up the land for 25 years is not in the best interest of the city.

“We do like general aviation, we’re happy to have general aviation at the airport, but we don’t want to lock them in for 25 years on the pin corner on the east ramp,” said Reichert.

Reichert also says he’s trying to provide another space for Harrison to lease at the airport.

“I’m trying to get rid of them; I’m trying to accommodate them in other areas of the airport that are not conducive to being able to put a big hanger on,” said Reichert.

When we contacted Harrison he said he did not want to comment on the issue, and that’s not the only concern with the Macon airport. A Macon city councilman says Lowe Aviation has a stronghold over the entire operation.

41 NBC’s Dustin Wilson will have more on the story and the reaction from Lowe Aviation tonight here on 41 NBC.