An old World War II-era hangar located at the Tullahoma Municipal Airport will receive new life thanks to a Moore County business.
Tullahoma airport, city and economic development officials announced that Lynchburg Machine Tool Inc. has purchased the hangar and will refurbish it to house three new businesses, including its own expanded operations.
The nearly $1 million project will consist of two new businesses in the Tullahoma area as well as the expanded operations of the Moore County machining business. According to Lynchburg Machine Tool Inc. CEO Michael Williamson, the hangar will be offering space for corporate and general aviation aircraft. General maintenance will be available to locally-stationed aircraft as well as transient planes.
Plans are also in the works for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repair station, pending approval, from the organization. An existing flight school on the field, Tullahoma Aviation Company (TAC), will be located in the facility offering flight training for private and commercial pilots.
The Lynchburg company will be renaming the facility to be located in Tullahoma. That new name will be released at a later date.
Williamson said he plans to restore the 75-year-old facility to as much of its original look as possible.
“We want to restore, as closely as possible, the outside of the building to its original look while adding interior buildouts that will upgrade the capabilities for our new operations,” he said.
News of the project came with great appreciation from the city’s airport. Tullahoma Municipal Airport Manager Jon Glass was enthusiastic about the approval of the project.
“We believe that this project will not only restore one of our airport’s iconic images, but will offer additional needed services to our customers for years to come,” he said.
Tullahoma Mayor Ray Knowis also applauded the project announcement and congratulated Williamson for his investment in the community.
“Mike Williamson, with this big investment, is not only creating three new companies and adding 10 to 12 people, but is saving a historic building that is a large reminder of our early involvement in the aviation sector,” he said. “The World War II hangar is symbolic of the beginnings of our new economy, and I am so happy that it will be saved and refurbished.”
Williamson thanked local financier First Vision Bank for its part in backing the project.
“Matt Layton of First Vision, along with Eddie Fitzgerald of the South-Central Tennessee Development District, were instrumental in arranging the financing for the project, and we wouldn’t be doing this deal without them,” he said.
Williamson also thanked the building’s current owners, the Harton Family Partnership, and its general manager, Joe Lester.
“Joe really bought into our vision for what we wanted to do to utilize the building and worked with us to structure an equitable deal for us to be able to move forward,” he said. “It was obvious to me that he was not just selling a piece of real estate but wanted to see someone purchase it who would be able to keep the history of the building alive for many years to come.”
The investment was applauded by the Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation (TAEDC), which congratulated Williamson and all local leaders and expressed belief that the project is a symbol of many people working together. TAEDC Board Chairman Lynn Sebourn said he was especially excited to learn of the announcement of the new hangar project.
“We have worked since our board’s formation in 2011 to help guide and direct a growing local and regional economy,” Sebourn said. “One of the four main areas of our work plan is to help attract and grow businesses in the aviation and aerospace sectors, and this project is a symbol of the types of investment we want to have. Special thanks to Mike Williamson and his team for this tremendous investment in our community’s future.”