A local aviation research firm that planned to construct a new hangar-type building at the Lawrence Municipal Airport has scrapped those plans and decided to move to Colorado.
David Kohlman, president of Kohlman Aviation Corp., said today that his plans to develop an airplane wing ice protection business at the airport have fallen through.
The local entrepreneur, who is a former Kansas University professor of aerospace engineering, said he has decided to pursue another business opportunity in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"We anticipate it will be sometime this summer," Kohlman said. "We don't have an exact date yet."
KOHLMAN had planned to erect an 8,100-square foot, $200,000 building on city property at the airport. He had planned to use the building to install ice protection systems on aircraft, to manufacture the de-icing fluid used in the system, to store aircraft and for business and engineering office space.
The business was to be the first to move into the airport's new "enterprise zone," which was authorized by the state and established by the city.
In July, the company had received a 10-year, 50 percent property tax abatement from the Lawrence City Commission for the new facility. The commission also approved a 30-year ground lease with Kohlman for using city land at the airport.
Kohlman said today that his plans didn't work out, although he would not be specific.
"OUR relationship with the company that manufactures the equipment changed," he said. "We've had some significant changes in business plans and an excellent opportunity that's arisen in the Colorado Springs area."
Kohlman said he could not provide details this morning about what those business plans involve.
"Primarily we'll be doing the same thing we're doing here, which is engineering consulting," he said.
Kohlman Aviation, which has four employees, provides aviation research and development, aeronautical engineering consulting and flight simulator computer modeling.
Meanwhile, Kohlman said another company that he founded, Kohlman Systems Research (KSR), will stay in Lawrence. The company shares offices with Kohlman Aviation at 319 Perry.
KSR, WHICH has about 25 employees, is in the business of flight testing and flight test instrumentation.
Kohlman said he will continue as chairman of the board of directors at KSR and also will continue to teach short courses for KU's division of continuing education.
"We're not unhappy with Lawrence or the business climate or the people or the town," he said. "We love Lawrence a lot and will miss it a lot. We're looking forward to some excellent opportunities in Colorado."
Kohlman, who has lived in Lawrence since 1964, was on KU's aerospace engineering faculty for 18 years until 1982.