Two years after the plant closed in 2006, Ford sold the site to Sacramento, Calif.-based Panattoni Development Company. The City of Hazelwood, meanwhile, took proactive measures to support a redevelopment vision. City officials negotiated a 25-year, Chapter 353 tax abatement incentive package with Panattoni for the entire site. The program provides tax abatement on the new buildings.
After 16 months of demolition work, the 3.3 million-square-foot structure that once housed a Ford plant and employeed nearly 2,800 employees is dveleopment project known as Aviator Business park. Working with the City of Hazelwood, Panattoni developed a plan to reuse the site’s considerable assets to create a 2.7 million-square-foot, mixed-use business park attractive to light manufacturers, IT firms, distribution operators, hotels and office users.
“Aviator Business Park has the potential to generate new economic development capable of creating up to 2,500 jobs,” said David Cox, Hazelwood’s economic developer. “It will be a tremendous asset to our already highly skilled, educated workforce in Hazelwood where 23,101 people are employed.”
Located at North Lindbergh Boulevard and I-270, one mile north of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, it’s close proximity to Lambert Airport, I-270, I-70, I-170 and Hwy 370 give it enormous logistic advantages. It’s easily accessible to major transportation routes that criss-cross the North American continent. Also, US 67, which is known to many as Lindbergh Boulevard, is a regional commerce route that runs through the heart of Hazelwood.
In an effort to minimize the amount of material sent to landfills and Panattoni has recycled 95% of the original 3.3 million square-foot auto manufacturing plant including approximately:
- 50.000 tons of steel
- 7,500 tons of copper and stainless steel and
- 450,000 tons of concrete and masonry that will be re-used for roads beds and building pads.
Meanwhile, Panattoni is extracting new strategic marketing value from extensive infrastructure that still remains there for new tenants such as:
- Rail spurs giving access to service provided by Norfolk Southern Railway
- A mega power supply that includes one 35 kilovolt and two 12 kilovolt of electric service are available with the capacity of providing in excess of 26 million volt amps (MVA) or enough to power a small city.
- Significant gas, water and sanitary services supplied by a 12-inch gas main, 16-inch water main and an 8-inch sanitary sewer line.
- Communication capabilities involving fiber and telecom service, with fiber available from AT&T and Verizon.
The City of Hazelwood has been very pleased with Panattoni up to this point. “What’s been promised has been delivered,” said Cox. It may take several years for the project to build out and reach capacity, but the fact that we’ve gone this far this fast means we’re ahead of the game.”
The boost to the local economy in terms of bringing in new businesses, generating additional tax revenue and producing hundreds of good paying jobs could be substantial for North St. Louis County, as well as the entire St. Louis metropolitan area. “It’s possible that the number of jobs created with Aviator Business Park could equal or surpass the ones generated by the Ford plant.” added Cox.