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Maritime company proposes major naval facilities in Lorain and Lordstown

Bartlett Maritime Corporation
USS Helena arrives for maintenance at Norfolk Naval Shipyard on Aug 20, 2015.

The Bartlett Maritime Corporation is proposing two new facilities in Northeast Ohio that could bring thousands of jobs to the area: a naval depot in Lordstown and a shipyard in Lorain.

Appearing on a panel Wednesday with Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley and Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill, company founder Edward Bartlett spoke of the pervasive problem of submarine maintenance in the U.S. Navy. New operations in Ohio, he said, are the solutions that will also help strengthen national security.

“It will be anywhere from 700,000 to on million-plus square feet,” Barlett, a former merchant marine captain said, referring to the proposed American Naval Depot in Lordstown. “The village of Lordstown has been exceptionally accommodating and attractive to us… It's a transportation hub. It's connected to the rails on both CSX and Norfolk Southern, and it's well connected on the interstates.”

The facility is expected to create 500 to 1,000 jobs.

Since General Motors shuttered its Lordstown plant where the Chevy Cruze had been made three years ago, the town has been considering other opportunities, Mayor Hill said.

“After General Motors closed, we had a lot of people come in,” Hill said. “Everybody had the perfect product to put inside the plant, but nobody came with any financial planning, no set plan. We wanted to see something that was tangible in the village.”

In Lorain, Bartlett is planning a naval shipyard set to employ between 2,000 to 3,000 people.

“It will be a transformational shipyard in the way we intend to build it with two super dry docks inside and the entire operation will be inside a single building in order to take climate and weather issues out of the whole package,” Bartlett said.

They want to build in Ohio, he said, because of the ready but underused labor force.

“Since we've been public with this for the last six weeks, my inbox is full every day with people saying, ‘When can I apply for a job? When can I come to work for you?’” Bartlett said. “There is an abundant pool of people ready and willing to work hard.”

The American Naval Shipyard project will bring Lorain back to its roots, Mayor Bradley said.

“From 1941 to 1945 during the second World War, American Shipbuilding Company produced 50 ships,” Bradley said of the company that arrived in Lorain in 1898. “Forty-one of them were U.S. Navy ships.”

Industrial revenue bonds in Ohio will pay for the project, and the U.S. Navy will lease purchase the buildings over 30 years.

Contractors have not yet been selected, but Bartlett says it will be 100 percent union labor. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this fall with operations in Lordstown starting in two years and in three to four years in Lorain.

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