November 12, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
A real-estate investment enterprise that acquires properties in "depressed markets around the world" is the new owner of the Cecil County, Md., airport, and plans to keep it in operation.
The Claremont Group, which lists hotels and residential and commercial properties among its international holdings, announced that it has purchased the airport, buildings, a home, and 129 acres in the northeastern Maryland town of Elkton. The property sold for a reported $1.35 million at a bank-ordered auction on Oct. 18.
State aviation officials disclosed the buyer’s identity only after settlement of the transaction had been completed.
The Claremont Group also owns the Tradewinds Flight School in Fort Pierce, Fla., according to its website.
"We plan to extend the existing 3000 feet runway, increase hangars and build homes," said an online announcement of its purchase of the Cecil County Airport, adding, "New Aircraft to be added for Flight Training Services, Charter, Leasing and Brokerage."
The Claremont Group’s chief executive officer is Perry Chopra, of New York, N.Y., who founded the company in 2003, according to his online biography on Claremont’s website. It said the "cash rich" company now holds 20 properties in Singapore, Germany, France, and the United States, where purchasing began in 2011, including a distressed hotel property in Atlantic City, N.J.
Claremont Group also recently acquired a former hospital in Hazleton, Pa., and stated its plans to convert to a 250-bed assisted living facility, according to a local newspaper report.
According to FAA data, 54 aircraft were based at the Cecil County Airport in 2013.
A company with a similar name develops luxury condominiums and other real estate properties, and provides construction services, from offices in New York City.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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