Bee Development Authority Executive Director Joe B. Montez said that after Dec. 31, no one would be working at the hangar, warehouse and paint booth complex that has been leased by the two companies for more than five years.
However, Montez and BDA board members are confident that some other aviation-related company will opt to lease the facilities in 2013.
Montez said he has sent marketing materials to a number of large companies involved in the maintenance and refurbishing of helicopters and other aviation-related industries explaining the value of the facilities at Chase Field.
Since the Sikorsky operation moved into Hangars 24 and 25, the BDA has invested $9 million in local, state, federal and private funds into upgrading the facilities at the former naval air station.
That investment means that Chase Field now has two remodeled hangars offering office space, warehouse and shop facilities and one important asset, an aviation-size paint booth.
Those facilities have made Chase Field a great find for any aviation-related company.
That investment has caught the eye of more than one firm, Montez said.
“Some are very, very interested,” Montez said. He has been talking directly to officials from two aviation companies in recent months.
“We’re very optimistic that we can find a replacement for the Sikorsky operation,” Montez said.
In the 5 1/2 years that Sikorsky and Kay employed workers at Chase, the two companies spent about $60 million locally. Ninety-five percent of that was salaries. But the companies also spent money with local businesses, purchasing supplies and services.
Communities usually apply a modifier to the amount spent by companies and businesses because of the way money changes hands, Montez said. That modifier usually is seven times.
Montez said just to be more realistic, it would be safe to say that every dollar spent here by Sikorsky and Kay would have changed hands at least three times. Using a simple modifier of three, Montez said that would mean that the impact of the two helicopter maintenance companies totaled $180 million in 5.5 years.
“If we can bring somebody who can equal or surpass that amount of economic impact on the community, we’ll do it,” Montez said.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.