BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The massive Kaiser Aircraft Industries facility next to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has been put up for lease and economic developers are hopeful they can land an Airbus supplier or other major project there.
Graham & Co. has been hired to market and lease the 1.7 million-square-foot facility and its 180 acres with direct runway access at the airport.
The 1.2 million-square-foot primary hangar has 10 pull-through bays with 160-foot wide, 725-foot deep dimensions and 40-foot clear ceiling heights. As many as 42 737- to 800-type aircraft can fit under roof.
Two warehouses totaling 295,000 square feet can house a number of distribution or manufacturing uses. A paint booth rounds out the complex.
The construction of the $600 million Airbus aircraft manufacturing facility in Mobile along with more than 300 aerospace and defense companies throughout the state make economic development officials hopeful the facility will not stay empty long.
“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,” Rick Davis, head of economic development with the Birmingham Business Alliance, said in a statement.
A single or multiple manufacturers could set up shop in the facility or another aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company like Kaiser could find the facility a perfect fit. Ogden Deaton, a lead broker with Graham & Co., said it has the potential to attract any number global aerospace projects.
“We now have an existing product in Birmingham that could be the catalyst for bringing a world-class company to Birmingham,” Deaton said in a statement.
Kaiser Group Holdings purchased the former Alabama Aircraft Industries out of bankruptcy in September 2011, saving a portion of the 325 jobs with plans to add more business and jobs to the facility.
Apparently enough of that additional business hasn’t materialized and Kaiser determined that it didn’t need the majority of the space, opting to put it on the market, according to Jack Brown, a Graham & Co. broker listing the property.
Kaiser did add 15 jobs in August 2013, according to the BBA. In December, the company named Robert E. Burnett Jr., a 30-plus-year veteran of the government and the military, as its new president.
On Dec. 17, 2013, Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington posted on his Facebook page, “Excellent presentation by the Kaiser Aircraft management team. This company has increased employment from 50 to 125 in the last 12 months and plans to double employment this year.”
A phone call seeking the current status of Kaiser Aircraft was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Alabama Aircraft, formerly Pemco Aeroplex, had its own up and down history at the facility until the death blow came when it lost a $1.1 billion KC-135 contract to Boeing. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors in February 2011, citing about $70 million in unpaid pension benefits.