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Boeing’s Wichita site to be on the market by month’s end

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at 7:56 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 10, 2014, at 6:12 a.m.

Boeing plans to begin actively marketing its sprawling Wichita defense facilities by the end of January, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

“It should be on the market by the end of the month,” said Kathleen Spicer, a spokeswoman for Boeing’s planning and real estate group. “It’s an important property.”

Boeing is working with national real estate firm CBRE Group in Los Angeles to sell the site near 47th Street South and Oliver.

“They want to put together an open house and provide an opportunity for all parties to come and visit the site to make sure all the buyers have the same access and receive the same information,” Spicer said. A date for the open house has not been set, she said.

Boeing announced last January that it planned to close its historic Wichita facility and move work to Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Pacific Northwest. Company officials said cuts to the nation’s defense budget, high overhead costs at the plant and a wind-down of current programs led to its decision to close.

Boeing built the B-29 Superfortress in Wichita during World War II, B-47s and B-52s during the Cold War, and, eventually, portions of every Boeing commercial airliner.

Boeing shuttered its Wichita commercial aviation business in 2005, which led to the creation of Spirit AeroSystems. Since then, the Boeing site has concentrated solely on military programs.

Boeing’s facilities include 97 buildings with 1.9 million square feet on 413 acres of land. The complex includes everything from large hangars to tool sheds and guard buildings.

Spirit AeroSystems, across Oliver from the Boeing complex, leases Boeing’s south hangar for Boeing 787 work.

In Wichita, Boeing currently employs about 1,800 people, down from 2,160 at the time the announcement was made a year ago. The move of workers and programs will happen in waves, the company has said.

Employees are transferring to other Boeing facilities, retiring or accepting jobs with other companies. Most of the moves will take place this year, although some employees will stay until the final closure in early 2014, the company has said.

Boeing has been working to prepare the site for a sale, including separating utilities and doing some environmental remediation, Spicer said.

“A big part of it is planning how to create an opportunity for prospective buyers to tour the facility,” she said.

She declined to say how much interest the company has received in the facilities.

In May, Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said the state had had “a number of inquiries.” Boeing had been fielding inquiries as well.

“Of course, it’s a long way from having a done deal,” he said at the time.

He described those interested as coming from aviation-related businesses.

It’s difficult to say who could end up buying the facilities, Spicer said.

“It really is going to depend on the best match we can make,” she said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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