COTTBUS AIRPORT REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT

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Property magnate buys airport for £1 million A property entrepreneur from Prestwich has bought an airport in Berlin.

Property magnate buys airport for £1 million A property entrepreneur from Prestwich has bought an airport in Berlin. Michael Flacks, who runs Flacks Group, snapped up Cottbus Drewitz, an airfield based 50-miles east of the German capital, for £1 million. The airport was used to train the German Air Force during the Second World War and by Russia up until the end of the Cold War. But it has since been run by local authorities as a military training base. Flacks, a former King David School pupil, says Cottbus Drewitz will now become a maintenance and repair centre for planes and more than 200 jobs will be created over the next five to 10 years at the site. The 46-year-old said the 1,000 acre site will offer emergency landing and refuelling facilities. He also said talks with large aviation companies, who want to use the centre as a stronghold, are ongoing. The successful firms will become partners to Flacks Group and build both industrial and commercial buildings on it. Flacks, who lives in Monaco with his wife Debbie, and also has homes in Hale and Miami, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think we’ve bought it well after three years of negotiating with all different levels of the German government. We are the landlord and are not going to be repairing planes. The aviation companies will partner with us, come on and develop. “This project will create more than 200 jobs. “And we are looking at it as a five to 10-year project. “From an agricultural point of view alone, we think it is worth around £20m. There is lots of land – we can have cattle grazing there.” Flacks said the deal has been secured at an interesting time. “Two of Berlin’s airports will close in the next couple of years as a huge airport being built at the moment opens,” he said. “So this will be Berlin’s second airport. “There used to be around 40 airports like this in Eastern Germany but they are all closed now. So it’s strange how this has lasted and stranger that a British company has ended up buying it.” He added: “We are also the only airport in Germany that has 24 hour landing and take-off seven-days-a-week. That’s because it is in the middle of nowhere and near the Polish border. “It really is exciting. This place has no sound restrictions. We have all the planning permission which is very rare. We can even remove trees and we can take any size of plane.” Flacks Group, which employs 200 people, buy and sell distressed businesses and turn them around. The company bought the Accrington Arndale in 2012 and also owns a large shopping centre and more than 2,000 apartments in Berlin. The firm is also building 400 homes in Orlando at the moment Flacks has in the past tried unsuccessfully to buy retailers What Everyone Wants, Bonmarche and Beetham Tower.

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