A little over a year after Kaiser Group Holdings, parent company of Kaiser Aircraft, moved its headquarters to Birmingham, it appears the company is looking to downsize its footprint near the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.
Graham & Co. has confirmed its industrial team, led by Ogden Deaton, has been hired to market Kaiser’s 180-acre, 1.7-million-square-foot site for lease to a major company.
Robert Shealy, senior vice president and CFO at Kaiser Aircraft said the company is still operating at the facility, but a downsizing of space is imminent.
“We think long-term we are going to have space available, and we want to make that space available for growing jobs in the Birmingham area,” Shealy said.
Shealy said due to the sensitive nature of the work that is done at the facility, he could not disclose any more information about existing operations on the property. He declined to discuss whether Kaiser would have layoffs. Officials with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs said they have not received a notice of a mass layoff event at the company.
A release from Graham & Co. said the warehouses on site are sufficient for a number of manufacturing and distribution uses.
“The Kaiser facility is a truly unique aviation industry asset, and we’re excited to see Graham & Co. aggressively market the Birmingham region and this facility to the global aerospace and aviation community,” said Rick Davis, vice president of economic development with the Birmingham Business Alliance.
The growing aerospace industry in Alabama is anchored by the $600 million Airbus production facility in Mobile, along with more than 300 aerospace and defense companies.
“We now have an existing product in Birmingham that could be the catalyst for bringing a world class company to Birmingham,” Deaton said. “The property is well-suited for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a maintenance repair overhaul (MRO) company looking to locate in the center of this growing industry.”
The primary hangar at the facility is 1.2 million square feet and consists of 10 pull-thru bays with 160-foot wide by 725-foot deep dimensions and 40-foot ceiling heights enabling the property to house up to 42 737-800 type aircraft under roof, Graham & Co.’s release said.
The two warehouses total 295,000 square-feet, along with a paint booth.
In September 2011, Kaiser acquired the assets of Alabama Aircraft for $500,000.
Alabama Aircraft lost a key $1 billion government contract to Boeing Co. in September 2007 and announced two months later it could not keep up with pension payments.
In March 2013, the parent company of Kaiser Aircraft consolidated its operations by moving its headquarters from Fairfax, Va. to Birmingham.
Throughout the duration of Kaiser’s Birmingham presence, the company has added jobs, including a 50-plus employee boost last August.
In December 2012, the company landed a five-year contract with the Army to build helicopter parts.