American LaFrance, LLC announced that it has
selected North Charleston, S.C., as the site for its new corporate headquarters and state-of-the-art emergency and
vocational vehicle assembly plant. The company plans to lease approximately 45 acres adjacent to the Charleston Southern University campus at U.S. Highway 78 just off I-26 in North Charleston from a design-build developer.
The developer will oversee design and construction of the
project for the company. The company, the University, and the developer are in the process of finalizing the site and development arrangements. Construction is projected to begin in the near future for completion in the second quarter of 2007.
The company's new, $35 million complex will include a 57,500-square-foot headquarters and 420,000-square-foot assembly plant. American LaFrance plans to begin a phased
occupancy beginning in April 2007. In addition to its current 430-person employment base in Charleston County, the company expects to create at least 200 new jobs as it expands its refuse and vocational vehicle line and other products.
"We are very excited about our new location and facilities. It is a relationship that brings
together the very best of business, education and community. It creates an environment that fosters continuing educational growth, leading edge business practices, and career enhancing work programs that will lead to jobs and careers right here in our own
community," said John Stevenson, President and CEO of American LaFrance, LLC.
"Having a manufacturing company adjacent to a university campus is very unique in today's business world. This is the type of partnership that is needed to keep American companies competitive and to secure jobs for our children. We are honored that Charleston Southern University has chosen to partner with us in this program. Their educational program focuses on five life preparation concepts: values and ethics, communication, leadership, service, and wellness. In fact, these are also the same principles that are the backbone of the fire and EMS community. These common beliefs will form a foundation of understanding that will allow American LaFrance to excel in meeting the needs of our customers."
The design and architecture of the new complex will reflect the rich heritage of American LaFrance. The complex will feature a state-of-the-art, custom fire products fabrication and assembly plant, a store for American LaFrance memorabilia, a vehicle test track, a pump test pit, a research and development center and a modification and refurbishing center.
The headquarters building will include a customer showroom with four large bays, multiple conference rooms, offices and a lounge. Additionally, several vintage American LaFrance fire trucks will be kept on display and utilized for public events.