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Exelis buildings for sale, but company is sold on Fort Wayne

Friday, February 28, 2014 - 3:31 pm

The “For sale” signs are going up Monday, but Exelis isn’t leaving town, a spokeswoman said.

To try to quash any fears or rumors before they got started, Kristin Jones, the communications manager with Exelis’ Geospatial Division, said the company has contracts through 2016 and isn’t planning to leave even after that.“We won’t be skipping town,” Jones said repeatedly Friday.

The issue is simply one of a property for sale as the Rochester, NY-based company looks to make cutbacks, she said. The company spun off ITT a couple of years ago.

Exelis’ CEO talked Friday with Geospatial Division’s 460-some employees in a town hall-style meeting to lay out the company’s plans. It will reduce that workforce by less than 10 percent, which it had previously announced, she said.

“We have had to make a strategic decision that will position us for future growth and remaining in Fort Wayne,” Jones said.

The specific jobs aren’t identified yet but they will be assembly-type work that the company will look to outsource. Some employees in those areas might take on work that now is being done by subcontractors, she said.

The division makes parts for weather satellites, most notably for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Currently, the division is in one of three buildings at 1919 W. Cook Road that is owned by Exelis’ other Fort Wayne division, Night Vision and Tactical Communication Systems. However, as the military has been preparing to withdrawal from Afghanistan, that division has seen fewer contracts for its Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, or SINCGARS, and has also faced cutbacks, Jones said. That division has moved out of the other two buildings on the grounds into space down the road at Summit Park.

The communications division owns the property at 1919 W. Cook, so it is putting it up for sale. The Geospatial Division will either rent from a new property owner or look for other space in Fort Wayne, Jones said.