In 2006, the City of Hazelwood learned that Ford Motor Company would close its 3 million sq. ft. assembly plant at I-270 and Lindbergh Boulevard. For half a century the plant had been Hazelwood’s single largest employer and an economic engine for the area. In the face of this immediate crisis, the City turned to PGAV to evaluate options and plan for the redevelopment of the Ford Plant and the surrounding properties along Lindbergh and Byassee Drive.
The loss of an employer of the Ford Plant’s size is obviously a serious blow to the community. However, the situation also presented the opportunity for the City to diversify its economic base and transform its landscape. Recognizing this opportunity, the City and PGAV worked to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for this area. The plan has served as a guide to public decisions about land use and infrastructure, as well as private investment in the area’s properties.
In the short-term, the City wanted to ensure that disposition of the Ford property was consistent with the long-term vision for the area’s redevelopment. PGAV prepared two conceptual redevelopment sketches to illustrate the potential for reuse of the Ford property. Preliminary evaluations of various incentive tools (tax abatement, tax increment financing, etc.) were also presented to help attract high-quality redevelopment proposals.
The Byassee/Lindbergh strategic planning process skillfully blended careful analysis of the area’s obstacles, long-term thinking about a redevelopment vision and a short-term incentive strategy. As a result of the City’s swift response to a painful situation, the City induced a quality redevelopment plan for the Ford Plant. In 2009, Panattoni Development began work in earnest on Aviator Park, a logistics center that will lay the foundation for future expansion of job opportunities and economic activity.