City Seeks Development of Shuttered C-17 Site at Long Beach Airport

By: 
Sean Belk
Boeing's last C-17 Globemaster gets ready for take off from LGB on Nov. 29, 2015.

By Sean Belk

The City of Long Beach is seeking development proposals for 31 acres of city-owned, airport-adjacent land, a large portion of which was used by Boeing as an employee parking lot for its now shuttered C-17 manufacturing plant.

On Aug. 21, the city released a request for proposals (RFP) for aeronautical business development on five parcels, ranging from 128,000 to 487,000 square feet in size. Potential developers may submit proposals for one, multiple or all parcels of land, according to city officials.

Airport Deputy Director Juan Lopez-Rios told the Beachcomber in an interview that the airport has already received interest from potential developers, however nothing has been officially submitted in writing yet. The development opportunity may include aeronautical related business uses, such as general aviation or aircraft manufacturing and support, he said.

“The RFP provides an opportunity for individuals who are interested to actually formally express their interest and provide us with information about their proposal and their development,” Lopez-Rios said. “We are seeking aeronautical and aviation uses.”

In a prepared statement, city officials said the availability of such a large area of land for development is a “unique opportunity,” the likes of which has not occurred at the airport since the development of the Long Beach Airport Business Park and Kilroy Airport Center between the 1980s and 1990s.

The site is located on the west side of the airport, just east of Cherry Avenue where Wardlow Road ends at the airfield boundary. The property is also located near approximately 90-acres of land owned by Boeing once used for its former C-17 Globemaster III manufacturing plant. The plant closed in late 2015 with the last military cargo plane departing for the Qatar Air Force.

Last year, representatives of the Daniel Rose Fellowship program, a yearlong effort to form strategies on repurposing land in and around the site for commercial development, stated that Boeing’s property would have to be studied for environmental contamination and may not be available for development until 2019.

City officials said in the recent statement that development of the city-owned property will likely attract and enhance the redevelopment of the Boeing property in the future.

“Long Beach Airport has been an important hub of economic activity for the city since its inception almost a hundred years ago,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in the statement. “We are looking forward to positive proposals to create more jobs that strengthen the local economy.”

The largest available parcel, known as Parcel A that spans nearly 500,000 square feet in size, was previously leased by Boeing for an employee parking lot for the former C-17 plant, Lopez-Rios confirmed, adding that Boeing had ended a lease for Parcel B years prior to the plant’s closure.  

Parcels D and E became available after the airport decommissioned its two smallest runways in July 2016, relocating taxiway B to an eastern portion of the airport, he said.

Parcel C is currently leased on a month-to-month basis to Ross Aviation, which last year acquired Toyota AirFlite, a fixed-base operator (FBO) that provides full services such as fuel, hangar space, tie-downs and maintenance to private aircraft users, Lopez-Rios said. The acquisition was part of a company repositioning as the automaker moved its headquarters from Torrance to Texas.

While it’s unclear whether Ross Aviation is still interested in keeping the property currently used for some general aviation services, the property remains “underutilized” and now may become part of a larger new development, he said.  

“With the availability of extra property, we were able to assemble a larger piece to put out for development,” Lopez-Rios said. “The timing just worked for all those pieces at this time.”

While the city is open to receive proposals from existing airport tenants, the city is not accepting any proposals for additional FBOs, he said, adding that the airport’s existing four FBOs are “sufficient” to handle general aviation volume, traffic and business at the airport.

Lopez-Rios said lease terms for the available property will likely range from 15 to 40 years but will ultimately depend on the type of investment and time needed for development to take place.

Additionally, the RFP indicates that development of the property should be intended for aviation related purposes that are “complimentary and respectful of the adjacent existing businesses.” 

According to the city’s RFP listing on PlanetBids.com, bids are due to the city by Nov. 1.

sean@beachcomber.news

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