August 6, 2008

Developer Starts Demolition Work at Ford Plant in Hazelwood

By Riddhi Trivedi-St. Clair, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Aug. 6--Demolition begins today on the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Hazelwood that was closed two years ago.

Removing the old buildings and environmental clean-up is the first step in converting the 155-acre site into a proposed 11-building, $200 million Aviator Business park. Developer, Panattoni Development Co., based in Sacramento, Calif., plans to build a 2.6 million square-foot commercial and industrial facility with warehouse, distribution and light-industrial uses.

In 2002, the Ford plant employed about 2,600. When it closed in March 2006, it had about 1,400 employees.

The hope is that the new development will create between 1,200 to 1,800 jobs, said Hazelwood Mayor T.R. Carr.

Demolition is expected to be completed by end of this year or early 2009. Environmental remediation will begin in the fall. Depending on the demolition timeline, construction will begin in late spring or early summer of next year, Carr said.

The plan is for a first 100,000 square-foot office warehouse facility. There are no tenants lined-up for the building.

That would potentially be followed by a 270,000 square-foot distribution center, Mark Branstetter, senior vice president and project principal for Panattoni said in June.

The development has been approved for up to $5 million in state brownfield tax credits. In April, Hazelwood also approved a 25-year property tax abatement -- 100 percent of all property taxes in the first 10 years and 50 percent for the next 15.

Demolition begins at 2 p.m.

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