By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

High-performance kit-aircraft maker Lancair will be staying put in Redmond.

A company created by Lancair’s owner, Robert Wolstenholme, of Colmar, Pennsylvania, bought the building the company calls home, 250 SE Timber Ave., in the business park adjacent to the Redmond Airport, said Randy Akacich, Lancair general manager. The $1.7 million sale was expected to close Tuesday, he said.

The purchase ends Lancair’s search for a permanent home, a search that included sites outside of Oregon, Akacich said Monday. He declined to identify specific locations.

“We were concerned about the economy, and so we wanted to keep our options open,” he said. “We feel more confident and, as a result, felt it was time to buy the building and establish roots.”

The company, founded in 1983 in Gardena, California, moved in 1991 to Redmond. The company occupied a building on nearby SE Airport Way until about six years ago, when it moved to its current home, a 38,400-square-foot building, Akacich said.

“We are excited,” said Jon Stark, Redmond manager for Economic Development for Central Oregon. “We are thrilled to hear Lancair has decided to purchase the building they occupy. They are pioneers of the aviation industry in Redmond and, importantly, Central Oregon.”

The firm was among the first to design a kit aircraft made of composite materials, to be built by the buyer, often with assistance from the company or other experts. Lancair’s aircraft designs evolved from its first model, a two-seater powered by a 100-horsepower piston engine, to the Evolution, a 750-horsepower turboprop that sells for about $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, company founder Lance Neibauer in 2003 sold the firm to Joseph Bartels, a New Orleanslawyer, who sold majority interest in Lancair to the Wolstenholme family in 2010.

The Timber Avenue property will be owned by a new company, K&W Legacy LP, which will lease it to Lancair, Akacich said. The previous owner, a real estate holding company controlled by Sabal Financial Group, of Newport Beach, California, acquired the property in June 2012, according to Deschutes County records.

Lancair’s purchase of the building is a good sign for Central Oregon’s aviation sector, said Brian Fratzke, principal broker of Fratzke Commercial Real Estate, which represented K&W Legacy.

Lancair employs 46 people and plans on adding about four more within three months, Akacich said. He said the company sold more Evolution airplane kits in the first quarter than in any other first quarter in company history. The company has sold about 70 aircraft in the past six years. Pilots, whether they fly for business or personal reasons, are more comfortable today making that purchase, he said.

“I would say across the board,” Akacich said, “people that we are talking to seem to be more confident about their future.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

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