Historic former aircraft parts factory property in Jamul sold

By Rick Griffin

A 59.85-acre site at 3552 Fowler Canyon Road in Jamul, which includes a 38,000-square-foot industrial building where airplane parts were made during World War II, has been sold for $1.7 million. The buyer was Property Evolution LLC with Michael and Jacqueline Hancock of Jamul as managing partners. The Hancock family operates Mike’s Metal Works, a steel fabrication firm operating in El Cajon. The company plans to relocate to Jamul. The company specializes in stainless steel and aluminum fabrication, including structural steel architectural railings and stairs. The seller of the property was Fowler Canyon Limited Partnership, a California limited partnership with James and Judith Asbury of El Cajon as managing partners. Approximately 25.79 acres of the site will remain as open space. Mark Robak, senior broker with Pacific Coast Commercial, a San Diego commercial real estate firm, represented both the seller and buyer.
The property has a rich history. In the 1940s, the property was the site of airplane parts manufactured by the Fowler Aircraft Co., founded by Harlan D. Fowler (1895-1982). An adobe house where the Fowler family lived still stands on the property. Fowler, an aviation engineer, invented a lift enhancer called the Fowler flap around 1920. The flaps, located on the wings, deflect air downward on both sides of the airplane in order to increase lift and reduce landing speed, and are found on most aircraft today. Fowler built an aircraft runway on the property that is now part of the Steel Canyon Golf Course. In 1983, the property was sold by the Fowler family to the Asbury family, owners of House of Steel, an auto accessory manufacturing company. House of Steel is credited with helping develop a “Baja Truck” look made popular in the 1980s. House of Steel was later renamed Race Car Dynamics, Inc. and is currently headquartered in El Cajon at a facility previously occupied by Buck Knives, Inc. now based in Post Falls, Ida.