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Page 146
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 8
wife, Betty Jean, and her two children, Car-
oline Bullock and Craig Zschiesche, as well
as Jimmy Ray Zschiesche's son, Allen Zschi-
esche) to finance the balance for ten years
with interest. (This had the effect of paying
the Zschiesche gang approximately $1.4 mil-
lion in interest over and above the purchase
price.) And three, I agreed to pay a separate
nonrefundable $25,000 for a 60-day extension
clause, just in case anything weird surfaced
as we raced toward the close.
Francine was curt, not in a mean way but
in a tone that said she'd heard a lot of offers
over the years and wasn't prone to believing
everything she heard. She wasn't so much
cold as cool, even clearing her throat into the
phone came across as her way of chiding a
caller to get to the point. Rick Winter offered
to meet, to hand over the documents, semi-
ceremoniously, and in his experience sellers
couldn't wait to get a bona fide offer in hand.
"Thank you, but that won't be necessary,"
Francine said.
"It's no trouble. Really, I'm not far--"
She coughed this time, a low grumbler, but
it got Rick's attention. "Mr. Winter is it?" she
said. "Please e-mail the documents at your
convenience. I'll distribute copies to the rest
of the family. We shouldn't need more than a
"Of course. When you get the e-mail, can
I ask that you send me a confirmation, you
know, just so I know everything arrived in
one piece?"
"Thank you for calling, Mr. Winter. Good-
The Runway Gets Shorter
While we waited for a reply, Frank was
hard at work doing some calculated wriggling
and was able to reposition the runway firmly
within the bounds of my own property. At the
same time he penciled in a planned extension
to the southeast, onto the Zschiesche farm, in
the event the Zschiesche heirs ever wanted
to sell. The downside to sticking to the pa-
rameters of your own property was that the
runway continued to get smaller with each
iteration. As of December 2007, the longest
possible airstrip, property line to property
line, was 4,754 feet. By January the runway
had dwindled to 4,420, an impressive length
but shorter than I wanted.
In November Francine e-mailed a reply to
my offer of several weeks earlier. She said, no
thank you. The price was too low and I was
welcome to make a more reasonable offer. Or
not. The brevity of the e-mail seemed to imply
she didn't lean one way or the other.
I prepared a response, with Rick's help, and
with his permission eventually decided to by-
pass my real estate agent and send Francine
Hernandez an e-mail directly. In it I laid out
my case: that I purchased the airport property
next door for $10,700 per acre, that I offered
her 15 percent above the highest appraised
value, that properties directly adjacent to
SH130 (which the Zschiesche property was
not) were worth more, and that I would de-
lete the stipulation for owner financing and
instead pay cash. I explained my thinking in
detail and closed by saying that I hoped we
could come to some agreement.