Chrysler Plants - Fenton Logistics Park

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects within St. Louis County, including Chesterfield, Riverport, Earth City, Westport and more.
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295 acres/5million square feet. What is the hightest and best use of the property?
- Largest Indoor/Outdoor paintball complex?

- 2nd assembly line for an airplane...

- Hydroponics Inside as well as regular outdoor crop fields. (As soon as Pot is legalized)

- Scooter manufacturer.

Man, this is hard!
I work in Fenton and the rumor is that there is currently a car company looking very strongly at the site. That would be the optimal solution IMO.
^ Yeah, that site has a long, dismal history ahead of it unless a car manufacturer moves in. Let's hope.
I need to get a leg up on the PD bloggers. A new stadium for the RAMS is NOT the best use of this site. A football stadium does not replace a lot of well paying manufacturing jobs nor make the region more competitive. Especially if you are going to use taxpayers state funds over a air cargo hub at Lambert, refurbishing UMSL's science building or adding a new business admin building on campus, adding new buildings to St Louis Community College Campuses, etc.
^ I would agree, jobs are the priority. Any company that will come in and create jobs. I can't imagine any car manufacturer coming into St. Louis, considering the relationship they would have with the local UAW. Outside of Detroit, St. Louis UAW is infamous amongst the auto industry. Why would they move here, when they can open up in the south and keep their plant non-union. I would love to see it happen, so we can replace those jobs with new ones, but I would be shocked to see it happen. I do think the fact that millions were dumped into the plant a few years ago, helps make the plant more attractive to a car manufacturer. If they did tear it down, a stadium would not be a bad option. I know that is me being selfish because I dread the thought of NFL football in Earth City or near St. Louis Mills. Plus the Rams could team up with Jeff Cooper and use the stadium for football and soccer. Soccer Park, owned by ST. Louis Soccer United, is very close.

Anyone know the status of the former Ford site, 'Aviator Business Park' of whatever it is called?? Drove by it the other day and it was cleared and appeared ready to go, but nothing is happening. The green grass growing there looks like the grass growing at Softball Park Village. Hope it has a better fate. I'd hate to see that happen in Fenton. Have the land cleared with nothing happening.
Agree, hate to see green grass just too have green grass. I actually think it would be better if the structures stay standing for the near future. Their is still some outside hope of another manufacturer taking advantage of the fact that Chrysler for some dumb reason dumped millions in upgrading the infrastructure of the plant when they were pretty much punting on US auto plants in favor of the subsidize health care in Canada or the cheaper labor in Mexico. Meant that in a purely business bottom line mentallity. At this point, I don't think UAW could keep a non-union auto plant for making a home in the area. The big question in my mind is the politics of it all, especially if a Chinese auto manufacturer made a offer on it (will stop their as it opens a political can of worms)

As far as green grass. Aviator Park is still working on getting its first build out even though it has the backing of a large nationwide developer, McKee is being sued just next door because he can't find a suitor for the spec warehouse he built, Northpark has pretty much piggybacked on Express Scripts success just as Winghavens success is about Mastercard (couldn't help adding another McKee reference) but still has a lot of space to fill out. In other words, don't see any reason/advantage for the area to add more green grass competing for the next warehouse.
Dredger wrote:
In other words, don't see any reason/advantage for the area to add more green grass competing for the next warehouse.


True, up to a point. But we're talking about what are essentially enormous warehouses with highly-specialized machinery, and significant environmental problems to boot. That machinery gets dated pretty quick if it's not in use. So if you can't find a reasonable re-user within a couple of years, you're left with a 5 million square foot warehouse with environmental problems. And who really needs that?
So why not tear it down, clean it up and let someone build from scratch? Sure, there's similar vacant land nearby (though that's less of a problem in Fenton than in Hazelwood). But in a lot of cases companies would prefer to build new. To them, re-using a specialized manufacturing facility is just extra work, work they don't need.
You got me on the time line. At some point my thinking won't work for the site. I would even say that my thoughts work at best three years but my pride will take five.

Five years brings the conversation back around to DogtownB&R's support for a Rams football stadium and the fact that current lease Edward Dome's lease agreement expires in 2015. Maybe they should amend the gambling law to include tributaries of the Mississippi and Missouri as possible sites. Now you got a potential Stadium and Casino development on a brownfield site.
One thing to keep in mind, is the fact that these buildings will eventually be nothing more than that. The machines and robots are being removed as we speak and shipped to other facilities. By the time all is said and done, the plants will be nothing more than a skeleton of what they used to be. I'd assume anything and everything that is valuable, sellable or usable will be removed. If I moved out of my house, I would not leave anything that I felt could be used or has value. I'd have to assume Chrysler will use that same approach.
But the infrastructure remains for heavy manufacturing, automobiles especially. From parking lots, to road access, to floor space, it still fits. Of course another company may have a whole different system that doesn't fit what's there. Who knows. It does seem ripe for auto manufacturing because there's an accessible labor force - those laid off from other companies - and I'm sure there are plenty of incentives available. The union issue is important, but if Subaru, Toyota and Honda can make cars in Indiana and Ohio, then why not Missouri?
The union issue is important, but if Subaru, Toyota and Honda can make cars in Indiana and Ohio, then why not Missouri?


I am not saying I have any evidence that this is true, other than word of mouth, but people I know that used to work there, say that the local UAW is viewed in the industry, as the most difficult to deal with outside of Michigan. That may seem like a great thing for the workforce, but it is a MAJOR factor that will be taken into consideration, when moving manufacturing to a new area. Me personally, I just don't see auto manufacturing coming back to that site. Even the former Chrysler line workers I know, have no hope that a new company will fill Chrysler's shoes. Most have already moved into other trades, went back to college or retired. I hope I am wrong and this area booms again. I am not confident that it will happen though.
I wonder if a startup auto manufacturer would be talked into utilizing the site:

Fisker Automotive
Tesla Motors
Aptera Motors
Carbon Motors

Idunno if any of them would have the capital to invest in a plant this large, but perhaps with incentives one of those (or someone else like them) could have at least some of it up and running. I'd think an underutilized auto plant would be better than an unused one...

-RBB
RBB wrote:
I wonder if a startup auto manufacturer would be talked into utilizing the site
-RBB


i think that of all of them, Tesla would be the most likely to take advantage of it. they're currently the biggest of them (to my knowledge) and they're looking to make three new vehicles in the near future: a 50k sedan, a 30k smaller sedan, and vans of an unknown price. they'll need the space to make em, and with a purely electric sedan starting at 30k, you can bet they'll need the space to produce a LOT of them
The RCGA has Advanced Manufacturing as an industry cluster we're trying to grow. American Railcar is headquartered in St. Charles. They should grow.

There's a lot of money out there for high-speed rail. We should see if we're smart enough to jump into that market. Maybe we can make streetcars and metrolink cars in the future. New buses, etc. The St. Louis Streetcar Company used to be a major player, maybe it can be brought back.

We don't have to build cars if no car companies are calling. Let's grow local businesses.
Per the City of Fenton Newletter

"Things are still on schedule for the site to be sold sometime later this year, possibly as early as this summer. According to the realtors, there are several parties interested in the site. As soon as we hear something definite, we'll keep you informed"

Well I know for certain at least one of the interested parties is another major car company. I guess we may hear something as soon as this summer.
Moorlander wrote:
Well I know for certain at least one of the interested parties is another major car company. I guess we may hear something as soon as this summer.


If not one of the aforementioned automotive manufacturers, then what about Hyundai/Kia? Their cars aren't punchlines to a joke anymore- both brands have unveiled several new and promising products over the last few years. I can't imagine they'd want to work with the UAW when Hyundai has a plant in Montgomery, Alabama and Kia just opened a plant outside Atlanta, but stranger things have happened, I suppose.
Korean auto unions are no joke. Ssangyong was bought out by a Chinese group and the fallout and confusion later had tear gas cannisters raining in on workers occupying an assembly line. I didn't really follow the story, but I saw a fair amount of violence on TV.

I've gotten the impression that the Chinese car market is a bigger priority for Hyundai/Kia, but it looks like they've got 8% plus market share in the US
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2010/03/02/2010030200505.html

Does anybody have good maps for the supplier networks for Hyundai/Kia or other non-Detroit car companies? Maybe we can get Volvo or some other Chinese company to move in as part of our expanding "Big Idea."
KMOX reported this morning, that Fenton's mayor Hancock feels the former Chrysler plant site will be sold bymid-summer. It will likely be developed as a mixed use site with light-heavy industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, mainly a mixed of small to mid-sized companies. This means that the plant will likely be torn down, to make way for the industrial park. I'd assume this will be a similiar concept as the former Ford site. Let's hope it gets off the ground faster.
Unfortunately, I believe St. Louis county is not doing a good job of bringing in these types of businesses nor is their much support at all from the state. Even some state funds for the Air Cargo hub would go a long way. More importantly, their is already a significant amount of brownfield developable space available in the county on top of the number of greenfield developments present in the metro region. Competing cities with competing developers trying to secure a rare warehouse deal.

This, of course, is leading to the argument on why balkanization of the St. Louis County is hindering economic development where as St. Louis City and the surrounding counties/communities offer better or unique opportunities. Such as the Laural where downtown's building stock is a safer and less expensive bet on development these days or Columbia securing IBM because they as a business model favor affordable low cost college towns with a ready supply of graduates to ramp up hiring if need be.

My hope, like many I believe, was to secure another car maker any car maker for Fenton. Sadly, I think that is fading in the sunset by the remarks of the Fenton Mayor. Unfortunately, I don't have a better plan. The best I can come up with is that maybe an open air football stadium should be built here if the Rams were to move out of the city (Flat, large parcel under one ownership with great freeway access - seems to be the pre-requisite for new NFL stadiums these days, kinda like Walmarts)
Toyota with a shrewd move by announcing a small stake in Telsa. Not surprising that Telsa would feel that California is its best market and Toyota would want to utilize their own assets. But still curious if Telsa was the car company that expressed interest in the Fenton plants and if Telsa had any suitors. Seems like a small amount to invest in possibly the next US automaker.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-0 ... ate2-.html

Toyota to Acquire $50 Million Stake in Tesla Motors

Toyota Motor Corp. will acquire a $50 million stake in California electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. as automakers compete to introduce less-polluting vehicles in the U.S.

Tesla will also buy a Toyota joint-venture factory in California to build its Model S and other vehicles, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said today. The companies will cooperate in developing electric cars, parts and production systems and engineering support, they said in a joint statement.
Tesla was the obvious choice for the NUMMI plant since they're based in San Jose.

Since it might be relevant to the discussion of closed auto plants, This American Life recently did an episode all about the NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA. The joint venture between GM and Toyota was Toyota's opportunity to start manufacturing in the US and GM to learn from the style of Toyota. The plant closed this past March. The episode emphasizes what a learning opportunity it was for GM, who refused to apply any of the successful practices an their other plants. You can listen to it here.
Does anybody know much about Nixon's tax break bill for Ford in the KC area? I assume the incentives are state-wide.
Tax breaks for Ford in KC are dead among other things, including taking an ax to historic tax credits, when the legislative session finished the previous week.

St. Louis on the Air, local NPR show has a discussion of what was done and not done. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. So I don't know what was discussed in reference to the bill for Ford tax credits.

http://www.stlpublicradio.org/programs/ ... howid=4000

Gov Nixon is appointing a economic development panel as reported Friday by both PD and BizJournals. Seems like an odd time considering that Missouri won't be able to make any meaningful changes until next years legislative session. But then again, Gov Nixon could use economic develpment advice in my opinion. I will have to end at that.
How about declaring this site as a "non-union zone". That would be VERY attractive to any type of company looking for a new manufacturing center. It's no secret that automakers now choose the south. No unions, cheap labor...-->It's a cheaper area to do business so companies move there to do business... yes, econ 101! It should be taught to most people again..