Redevelopment Plans Fly High at Southern California Logistics Airport

A series of investments totaling $ 3 billion, including a recently announced $ 60 million program, will spur redevelopmentat Southern California Logistics Airport.   The closure of the 5,339-acre George Air Force Base eliminated 8,000 jobs in 1992 and the base became Southern California Logistics Airport.   California Building Systems in Palm Desert will build four aircraft hangars, totaling 350,000 square feet and $ 60 million, and lease the space to Leading Edge Aviation Services Inc., Pratt & Whitney and Liberty West. The fourth hangar has yet to be leased.

Leading Edge Aviation, an aircraft painter based in Santa Ana, plans to move its corporate offices to the airport in December.   The aircraft painter is at capacity, president Michael Manclark said.   The new hangar will double Leading Edge's current capacity and allow it to solicit new customers such as the military.   Leading Edge employs 95 people at the airport but will need up to 50 more workers, Manclark said.   Completion of the remaining three hangars is slated for 2006.   Will Graven, California Building Systems chairman and chief executive officer, plans to build more hangars and lease the space to Cascade Aerospace Inc. in Abbotsford, British Columbia, he said. Cascade is an aviation overhaul and repair firm. "We expect more airlines and business will come here," Gravensaid. Cascade Aviation wants a building for 500 workers at the airport. No deal has been inked yet but there is interest, he said.   

Airport tenants include a General Electric jet engine test site, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., ConAgra Foods and M&M Mars.   Sterling Airports International and the Southern California Logistics Airport and Rail authorities will invest $ 300 million in speculative development around the airport beginning in January, Sterling partner Dougall Agan said.   

The Southern California Logistics Airport Authority is operated by the city of Victorville. The authority is charged with redevelopment of the former air base.   That investment will translate into 10 million square feet of industrial and office space and 2,800 jobs. The $ 300 million investment will take 30 months and include the construction of multitenant distribution centers and office space.   Foothill Ranch-based Sterling Airports and the airport authority in Victorville are handling the redevelopment of the airport.   Sterling Airports will invest another $ 3 billion over the next 10 to 15 years to develop 64 million square feet of industrial space at the 5,399-acre airport.   

The airport's redevelopment area is nearly 1,000 acres larger than the 4,400-acre redevelopment area at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside.   The airport features a 15,000-foot runway, 24-hour air tower operations, a 2,000-acre foreign trade zone and hangar space.   

Pro Logis agreed to develop a 4-million-square-foot building at the airport. Prologis will hire about 2,200 workers for the new building.   The airport has increased its rental rate 150% since the base closed, Agan said.   "We're being recognized as a viable area," Agan said.   The airport's redevelopment master plan calls for multitenant warehouses and distribution centers ranging from 5,000 to 1 million- square feet to be built at the airport.  "Over the next 10 to 15 years we should have 64 million square feet [at the airport], if we don't, I'll be disappointed, "Sterling's Agan said.

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