The Brookley Aeroplex looks to take advantage of its new addition by making the complex more attractive to future tenants.
As aviation giant Airbus breaks ground on its first U.S. assembly operation, its stateside home, Mobile Brookley Aeroplex, is moving forward with an extensive infrastructure improvement campaign and other enhancement initiatives.
Airbus is set to held its groundbreaking yesterday on a production facility for its A320 family of single-aisle passenger jets. The facility at Alabama’s Mobile Brookley Aeroplex will bring as many as 1,000 new workers. An Airbus supplier, Safran Engineering Services, also has announced plans to locate at Brookley, with 50 employees.
Brookley is one of the largest industrial complexes on the Gulf Coast, occupying nearly 1,700 acres adjacent to the Port of Mobile, one of the nation’s 10 busiest seaports. The strategically located park already houses 70 companies in fields ranging from aviation and aerospace to manufacturing and distribution and logistics. Those businesses employ around 3,500 people.
“The infrastructure improvement project and other plans will help Brookley maximize its potential for future development by making it more attractive to prospective tenants,” says Bill Sisson, executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority. “It also will help Mobile Brookley Aeroplex be recognized for what it is – a true gem along the Gulf Coast.”
In late 2011, MAA issued more than $7 million in capital improvement bonds for infrastructure upgrades throughout the Brookley complex, setting the stage for the largest enhancement project in decades. The facility dates to World War II when it served as an important military aviation center.
Significant improvements already have been made that boost Brookley’s competitive position. For example, the 1941-vintage Michigan Avenue bridge that links the park to Interstate 10 was replaced last year at a cost of $3.7 million.
Additional improvement plans call for completion of the majority of the work in time for the start of assembly at the Airbus facility in 2015. Following is a rundown of key elements in the campaign:
- Extensive landscaping work will soften the look in Brookley’s industrial areas and provide a unified and consistent appearance to the entire complex.
- All of the park’s side streets are being repaved, with curb and gutter systems being added. (The City of Mobile plans to repave the section of Broad Street that runs through the park, along with portions of two other streets.)
- New sidewalks and other streetscape improvements will make Brookley more user-friendly for its workforce.
- New lighting features also will enhance the park’s appearance.
- Updated signage will provide better directions for guests and contribute an updated feel to the complex’s look.
- Exterior makeovers are being carried out to some buildings, as shown by aesthetic improvements to the Occupational Health Center. In some cases, older buildings in the park have been demolished.
Additionally, MAA and City of Mobile officials are currently evaluating the scope of a technology upgrade at Brookley to ensure that the needs of Airbus and its suppliers in the park are addressed. As part of that effort, MAA is developing a comprehensive plan that assesses fiber optic and other technology needs.
Meanwhile, MAA is seeking a developer to realize plans for a modern, 28,000ft2 office building at Brookley. The project is in the pre-leasing phase.
Other improvements, such as additional green space, will be considered if finances are available. An architectural guideline plan is in the works to ensure that future construction at the complex meets a high design standard.
“A lot of effort has been put into plans to bring Brookley up to world-class,” Sisson says.
Construction of the $600 million Airbus final assembly line at Brookley will be complete in 2015. The Mobile facility will join existing Airbus production centers in Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; and Tianjin, China.
“The existing infrastructure at Mobile Brookley Aeroplex offers significant advantages, and the improvements we are making are adding luster to the park’s reputation,” Sisson says. “When Airbus delivers the first Alabama-made passenger jet here in 2016, Brookley will be ready to step onto the global aviation stage.”