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Boeing puts Wichita flight line, hangar complex on the market

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, July 11, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 10, 2014, at 6:12 a.m.

Boeing this month officially put its sprawling 325-acre flight line and hangars in south Wichita on the market, three months after the site’s large office complex went up for sale.

The facilities are for sale as Boeing works to close its Wichita plant and move the work to Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Puget Sound.

Marketing materials call the property a “World Class Maintenance Complex.”

Sales information for the flight line and hangars says 61 buildings on the east side of South Oliver are for sale.

They include massive hangars and smaller storage and other buildings totaling more than 1.2 million square feet. The property has heavy power and natural gas lines and “potential runway access to McConnell Air Force Base.”

In March, Boeing began marketing its 85-acre office complex, which includes three office buildings, a lake and thousands of parking spaces.

The office complex will be available for occupancy this year. Boeing will vacate the flight line and hangars next year.

The future of the site is important to Wichita, where Boeing has had a presence for more than 85 years.

On the flight line, thousands of historic military planes — Stearman trainers, Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, B-47 Stratojets and B-52 Stratofortresses — were flight-tested and prepared for delivery after being produced inside facilities now owned by Spirit AeroSystems.

Inside the hangars, workers modified and maintained large Boeing planes, such as Air Force One, E-4B, B-52, KC-135, the KB-29 tanker, 747, A-6 and other aircraft.

The facilities are being marketed by real estate firm CBRE.

The properties can be sold or leased separately or as an entire campus, according to information on CBRE’s website.

Boeing spokeswoman Kathleen Spicer declined to comment on what kind of interest has been shown from potential buyers.

“However, we can tell you that Boeing is striving to be a good neighbor and is working with the people of this region to dispose of this important property in a manner benefitting the community,” Spicer said in an e-mail.

Boeing has long had an agreement in place with McConnell Air Force Base for shared runway access and operations.

“Any entity that requires flight line operational activities would need to facilitate their own agreement with the Air Force,” Spicer said in the e-mail.

Marketing materials for Boeing’s flight line and hangar space include the following about the facilities:

• Commonly referred to as the North hangar, Building 4-056G is a large three-bay aircraft hangar used for maintenance and modification operations. The 330,035-square-foot hangar includes mezzanine and second-story support office space. Two bays can hold aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747-8. (Boeing used the two bays to accommodate E-4B and VC-25 aircraft, commonly called Air Force One.) The third bay is large enough for a 747-400. That bay was used for Boeing’s Airborne Laser project designed to shoot down ballistic missiles, which used a 747-400 freighter as its platform, and other programs. The hangar was built in 1952 to take on B-47 operations. It was later expanded so a 747’s tail could fit through the door.

• Building 4-140H, a modification support hangar, includes high-bay hangar space that can accommodate aircraft as large as a 747-8 and a low-bay maintenance building. It also includes office space and 239,815 total square feet.

The hangar, built in 1986, was used to modify 767 tankers for Italy and Japan, according to former employees.

• Building 4-016K, a large, 1950s Quonset hut-style aircraft hangar, is big enough to accommodate 767-200, B-52H, C-32, C-40, E-6 and KC-135 aircraft, marketing materials say. The hangar, built in 1954, measures 47,624 square feet. The hangar is currently being used by volunteers who are restoring a B-29 known as Doc.

• Building 4-118F, which employees commonly call the South hangar, includes four large hangar bays for maintenance and modification operations and support office space totaling 221,269 square feet. The building is leased to Spirit AeroSystems through June 30, 2017. Spirit uses the space for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner program. It’s the hangar where Boeing B-52 and KC-135 modifications took place.

• Building 4-023L includes offices, electronic laboratories and a fire department building, which includes fire truck bays. It totals 59,121 square feet of space.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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