Boeing is selling Long Beach property where it used to build cargo planes

Boeing's C-17 assembly facility in Long Beach, shown in May 2015, is up for sale as part of a 90-acre property.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Three years after Boeing Co. officially ended production of the C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane, the aerospace giant has put up for sale the 90-acre Long Beach facility where the aircraft was built.

Chicago-based Boeing listed the property Monday, a move that signals the end of Boeing’s military aircraft production in Southern California, at least for the foreseeable future.

For the record:

3:15 p.m. Nov. 7, 2018An earlier version of this story said Douglas Aircraft Co. built the C-17 factory in the late 1980s, before becoming McDonnell Douglas Corp. The company was already McDonnell Douglas, and it expanded an existing building to create the factory. The earlier version also identified an Air Force official as a man. She is a woman.

Maintenance and modernization of the current C-17 fleet still takes place in Southern California.


Boeing said its efforts to find a buyer were “being coordinated with city of Long Beach stakeholders to provide the best opportunity for new businesses in the city.”

The property is adjacent to Long Beach Airport and includes two primary manufacturing buildings and multiple additional structures. The first round of bids will be due in mid-December, according to NKF Capital Markets, the real estate brokerage working with Boeing.

The 1.1-million-square-foot main assembly building where C-17s were built is part of a sprawling aircraft manufacturing site dating from World War II. Tens of thousands of people once worked in the facility’s hangars and on assembly lines to produce planes such as the MD-80 jetliner and the B-17 bomber.

In the 1980s, McDonnell Douglas, which owned the Long Beach site at the time, expanded a building there to manufacture C-17 planes.

Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and sold a large portion of the site — a parcel known as Douglas Park — in 2012 to Irvine developer Sares-Regis Group. Part of that site is now occupied by small-satellite launch firm Virgin Orbit. Virgin Orbit is building a rocket that will drop from the wing of a flying Boeing 747 airplane and carry satellites the rest of the way into space.

An Air Force official told reporters last month that her branch of the military may need additional C-17 cargo planes, according to trade publication Defense News. That led to speculation that the C-17 production line could restart.


But rebooting a production line “involves significant costs and time,” and Boeing was already “evaluating” options for the Long Beach property, company spokesman Todd Blecher said in an email. However, he said Boeing is “always ready to speak with customers about future needs.”

The wide-bodied C-17 plane has a wingspan of almost 170 feet and can carry more than 80 tons of troops, supplies and large equipment, including the U.S. Army’s M-1 Abrams tank.

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