FRIDLEY, MN-United Defense Industries is paying the US Navy $6.5 million for the 2.1-million-sf building it has been in since the 1940s. The Arlington, VA-based defense contractor says is buying the 60% of the building it does not already own.

The deal is expected to close within a few months. Apparently, the Navy had only recently expressed interest in selling its remaining interest in the building.

United Defense has been leasing the building is on a 135 acre site on East River Road near Interstate 694. The facility serves as the base for the company’s armaments systems division. At its peak, near the end of World War II, as many 11,000 people worked at United Defense’s plant churning out big Navy guns.

United Defense recently was awarded a contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC. With options, the deal could reach $96.7 million for the production of Virginia Class Submarine Propulsors. The Virginia Class is the Navy’s next-generation attack submarine.

The company now has a six-year, $2-billion contract with Boeing Co. to design and develop high-tech new manned ground vehicles for the US Army as well as a missile launching system for the next-generation of Navy ships.

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