Mobile awards contract to clear land in hopes of winning Air Force tanker contract

Contract would team Lockheed Martin, Airbus

A rendering of the tanker Lockheed Martin and Airbus propose for the Air Force.

The City of Mobile has taken first steps to make space for a major industrial site where Lockheed Martin and Airbus can team to build the LMXT bridge tanker for the U.S. Air Force.

The city’s Industrial Development Board has awarded a demolition contract for the 100-acre site to Daphne-based Virginia Wrecking — putting the firm to work demolishing several old classroom buildings, storage buildings and dilapidated houses that were once owned by the University of South Alabama.

The project hearkens back to 2011, when the city went full throttle to support an Airbus-Lockheed Martin tanker bid, won the contract and then lost in a rematch with Boeing Co.

The Port City came out ahead in the deal anyway — when Airbus built its first U.S. final assembly line here. Now the firm is among the city’s largest industrial employers and is at work building its third final assembly line in the Brookley Field complex along Mobile Bay.

If the Airbus-Lockheed Martin team wins this go-round with the Air Force, yet another FAL would spring up in Mobile — this time on the Mobile by the Bay site that’s now ready for clean up to make space.

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 “This is a critical next step in preparing this site for future growth,” said Melissa Morrissette, chair of the Industrial Development Board. “This site has the potential to greatly enhance business growth and job creation, making a significant and long-lasting impact on our community’s economy.”

The city is using a $1.2 million grant from the Growing Alabama Tax Credit program of the Alabama Department of Commerce, which gives private investors a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to half their income tax liability for investing in approved projects. Funding came through Alabama Power and Regions Bank.

“We can’t thank the state of Alabama, Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, Alabama Power and Regions Bank enough for providing the funding for this project,” said Mobile Chamber President and CEO Bradley Byrne. “Ensuring the availability of development sites for industry is a crucial aspect of the Industrial Development Board’s plan, and this funding demonstrates the successful collaboration and teamwork required to bring these projects to fruition.”

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