Brantley lands helicopter repair facility

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

The skies over Brantley will become much busier in the near future.

Monday, Brantley Mayor Bernie Sullivan and the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority (CCEIDA) announced that Helispec, LLC., a helicopter full service repair and overhaul facility had chosen to locate in the small southern community.

"Hopefully this announcement will help lure the retail businesses that are so needed in Brantley and that our folks here in Brantley so desperately need," Sullivan said at Helispec's official announcement Tuesday afternoon at the Bethany Center located at Brantley Methodist Church.

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Gregg Holt, President of Helispec, and partners Sandy Smith and Mark Topping were on hand at the event to seal the deal on their $3.5 million capital investment in Brantley. All three are former employees of ACRO-Helipro Global Services (formerly Helipro Corp. and Acro Aerospace) and have a combined 58 years of experience in aviation, operations and management.

"We (CCEIDA) have secured tax abatement in the amount of $3.5 million in capital investment to abate all state and local non-educational property tax, all construction-related transaction taxes except those levied for educational purposes or for capital improvements for education and all mortgage and recording taxes," CCEIDA executive director Doni M. Ingram said.

Not only does Helispec specialize in helicopter repairs and overhauls it will also deal with in-house reworks, painting, avionics, upgrades, structural repairs and upgrades, component overhaul materials, management and logistics and 24-hour, seven day a week customer support and contact teams.

Holt said Helispec will initially hire 25 technicians and continuously increase its employee base yearly. After only three years in operation, the new facility will offer nearly 120 jobs. Its estimated payroll at full capacity will be $1.8 million.

"We have plans in place for the future for major growth with a goal of becoming the world's leader in helicopter repair and overhaul," Holt said. "We anticipate the commencement of construction on an addition facility in Brantley later this year."

Helispec is currently located in the old Meredith Factory on Foster Street. Holt said there has been about $1 million put into the facility, which will be used to repair transmissions and other components once the new facility is built. There are plans to break ground on the $2.8 million facility, which will be located at the Brantley Air Strip, in the next three to six months.

"This will be a state-of-the-art, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified repair station," Holt added. "We are building in such a manner that there will be portions of the facility available for the community to use. We're a very community-oriented and employee-oriented business."

Holt said he is also in negotiations with the FAA in hopes of bringing an aviation college satellite campus to Brantley as well.

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