Six months after BWX Technologies closed its Chattanooga office, the vacant facility has a new owner.
A limited real estate partnership controlled by developer Byron Defoor, known as Amnicola Property Investments LLC, bought the 12-year-old office and industrial facility at the entrance to the Centre South Industrial Park on River Terminal Road last week for $2.3 million from Dillard Partnership, headquartered in Dayton, Tennessee.
Defoor, the general partner of Contemporary Healthcare Capital and owner of The Westin hotel downtown and the Embassy Suites hotel in East Brainerd, plans to use the complex to help support his hotel and other businesses, Ken Defoor said.
Anne Dillard, managing director of Dillard Partnership, said the 30,225-square-foot building across from the Hamilton County Elections Commission building had been under lease to BWXT. But BWXT shut down the last of its Chattanooga operations last June when it combined its remaining nuclear equipment and fuel operations at its corporate headquarters in Lynchburg, Virginia.
BWXT spun off from Babcock and Wilcox in 2015, seven years after Babcock and Wilcox acquired Intech, which began in Chattanooga in 1995 and grew into a robotic tooling design and fabrication plant as well as dealing with inspection technology for the nuclear industry. In 2014, Babcock & Wilcox Intech announced plans to consolidate three local operations and hire 50 more workers to employ 150 at its consolidated facility on River Terminal Road.
But the expansion plans were undermined by cost overruns for nuclear power plants and the slow growth in power consumption, which combined to block B&W's hoped-for nuclear resurgence.
Jud Simmons, director of media and public relations for BWX Technologies, said the company phased down and eventually closed its Chattanooga office and is no longer leasing the building. The company worked with real estate broker David Devaney to facilitate the sale of the office to end its remaining lease obligations.
"The 15 employees who had been working there were either let go, transferred to other positions within the company, or voluntarily ended their employment [last June]," Simmons said.
The office and industrial building was built in 2007 to house a custom tooling design and computerized manufacturer known as East Tech Co. But East Tech vacated the facility after filing for bankruptcy in 2014.