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Fri, Aug. 23

Kingman Southwire facility has bites - but no buyers
Landing a manufacturer would be a coup for city

KINGMAN - Bringing new base industries to Mohave County isn't easy when there's no place to put them.

Lack of large available commercial space makes it difficult to draw manufacturers, distributors and large industrial users, Mohave County Economic Development Director Bennett Bratley said.

More than 80 percent of manufacturing prospects visiting Kingman in the last five years are looking for existing buildings, he said.

One of the area's most underutilized assets is the 240,000-square-foot Southwire facility at Kingman Airport and Industrial Park that's been vacant for five years, Bennett said.

Southwire officials have told him that the longer the plant stays vacant, the less likely it would reopen.

"That plant has been put on the market and we've had a lot of inquiries from potential businesses looking for an existing facility, so they can come in and start up without going through the building process," he said. "I was very glad to see that they finally decided to put the facility up for sale."

Bennett took a couple of groups from California on a site visit a few weeks ago. If the plant were to be sold to an end-user, potentially a manufacturer, it would boost the local economy with high-paying jobs, he added.

A 2011 analysis of target industries in Mohave County, prepared by ESI Corp. of Phoenix, stated that the region lacks a strong inventory of existing for-lease or for-sale buildings, especially those that exceed 50,000 square feet.

The Kingman economic region contains a high cluster of arts and entertainment, which comprised 28.2 percent of total employment, the report showed.

Assets

One would expect the category to cover motion picture and video production and performing arts. It also includes parks, museums and historic sites; scenic and sightseeing transportation; fitness and recreational sports; lodging; and retail and food services.

Health care services were the second-highest employer at 13.8 percent, followed by manufacturing (5.9 percent) and transportation and logistics (3.7 percent).

"This economic region contains the most diversity of the three (Bullhead City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City), and hosts significant concentrations of manufacturing, transportation and logistics and aviation industries, in addition to health care and tourism industries," the report stated. "Kingman economic region must take advantage of its existing critical mass of industries, as well as continue to develop their multimodal transportation options."

"It goes back to Southwire and the opportunity to fill those (70) jobs," Bennett said. "Those are base industry jobs, dollars that are brought into the community from outside sources."

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