american factories airplanes
A plant in Downey, Calif. (pictured) made military planes in the 1940s. From the 1950s until 1999, it was a NASA facility that made space shuttles. Today, it's a business and retail hub.

The past two decades have been brutal for American manufacturing as companies shifted production overseas and introduced high-tech systems that eliminated jobs.

Many of these once-thriving hubs have been idle for years, but that's starting to change.

"Demand for closed factories has picked up since the recession," said Stuart Lichter, president of Industrial Realty Group, which works with defunct commercial property.

This resurgence is largely triggered by U.S. companies bringing production back home. There has also been a boom in international firms, especially from China, shifting production to the U.S. as a way to grow their business and cut costs.

There are thousands of closed factories, industrial plants and military bases that are prime candidates for redevelopment, Lichter said. Here are some that have been revived.

First published April 22, 2014: 11:20 AM ET

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