MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mayor Sam Jones said Airbus wants to do business with a "world class" city. He said Mobile has the potential to be one, but there is some work to be done first.
"We are asking all of these other people to come and invest in our community but they actually want to know what are you willing to invest in your own community," said Jones.
Jones said Airbus is just as concerned about what happens in the community.
He said the city's goal is to transform Brookley and Mobile into a world class aviation center of excellence.
"They (Airbus) talk about quality of life issues. They talk about recreational activities, strong public safety, cultural and arts, museums, educations…attractions in the community as well as infrastructure and housing opportunities," said Jones.
The city's attorney, Larry Wettermark, said the "world class" term is a phrase used in Europe to describe hubs and cities that Airbus has invested in.
Wettermark said the biggest need is finding additional land in order to recruit the kind of companies that Mobile needs at Brookley Areoplex.
"If you ask, one of the problems facing us in trying to make Brookley Areoplex into what it needs to be to not just keep Airbus here, but to attract everything else that we need to have. And the first thing is land," said Wettermark.
Wettermark said an example of the expectation for Mobile is the Airbus location in Toulouse, France.
"They take pride in it. It's integrated into the city, its modern architecture; it's first class. And I can tell you, that's the expectation," said Wettermark.
The Wettermark said as Mobile becomes an aviation hub, suppliers will want to move here as well. He said engineers, metalworking shops and rework facilities will want to move where the aviation action is.
Jones said as supply companies begin to vie for Airbus' attention, Mobile will also need to present itself as an attractive, flourishing city.
"They want to be the number one aircraft manufacturer in the world, and they want that center of excellence to be in Mobile, Alabama. So we have to be equal partners with them to get there," said Jones.
Wettermark said Mobile has opportunities and challenges when it comes to preparing to be a top of the line city.
Jones' vision though, will cost money. And right now, the city is still trying to figure out its projected deficit.
Jones said his budget will reflect investments in the city, in preparation for airbus.
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