Lockheed Martin closes its doors in Marion

Nov 19, 2022

MARION — The Lockheed Martin facility in Marion, which was originally founded in 1940 as Francis Associates, has finally closed its doors after 82 years, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday, Nov. 16. 

We have transferred all production work from the Marion facility to other locations,” said Lockheed Martin Spokesperson Mo Schumann, who did not give an exact date of closure. 

Now, the company is “evaluating offers on the property,” said Shumann. 

According to Interim Town Administrator Judy Mooney, the Town of Marion is working with Lockheed Martin to “to hopefully find suitable residents for our community.”

In May, the Town of Marion considered plans for a village-style housing development on the land currently owned by Lockheed Martin. 

According to a plan presented by Peter Flinker, of the architectural and landscape planning firm of Flinker & Dodson, the housing development could potentially include 60 senior independent living townhouse units, 65 senior cottages, 48 units of assisted living and 168 apartment units, in seven buildings of 24 units on three floors each. 

Flinker added that his plan follows Marion’s master plan document which calls for increased senior housing in the community. 

“This [plan] would allow Lockheed Martin to market the property with a concept we would support,’’ said former Marion Town Administrator Jay McGrail in May. “We want to help Lockheed Martin to entice developers to come to us with something we’d want to see.’’

The land is currently zoned for industrial use and would require an overlay district to accommodate housing, said McGrail, which is a zoning district that is superimposed on portions of other districts. 

There have been no further developments in this plan since May. 

Members of the Marion Planning Board have proposed alternative uses for the property. 

Jon Henry, a member of the Planning Board said that the land should remain light industrial “almost at all costs,” during a Dec. 6, 2021 meeting of the planning board. 

Former Planning Board Chair William Saltonstall said he didn’t disagree with keeping the land light industrial but that “the world is changing, and there are not a lot of small light industrial folks out there.’’

Saltonstall added that the land could be divided among uses “if done thoughtfully,” suggesting that medical facilities could find a home on that land.

Lockheed Martin announced early last year that its Marion location would close by the end of 2022. The company was the largest employer in town, with 400 jobs that were relocated, company officials have said.

According to Mooney, the company brought in $147,634.91 in taxes for the town in Fiscal Year 2022. 

Lockheed Martin left the Marion facility in an “effort to drive down costs for customers and increase efficiency and value,” read a statement released by the company.

The Marion location of Lockheed Martin began as Francis Associates, an electrical-mechanical engineering firm founded by brothers Tim and Sam Francis alongside Phil Tabor in 1940. In 1981, the company went public as Sippican Ocean Systems, Inc., before being acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2004.