In its quest to land a Boeing plant for the new 777X jet, the city of Charlotte told the Chicago-based company it would assemble 405 acres inside and adjacent to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, including 70 acres of privately owned property that’s home to 27 warehouses and private businesses.
Charlotte did not make Boeing’s short list for the new plant, and the company recently announced the wide body jet would be built in the Seattle area after labor unions made concessions regarding pensions.
But the City Council’s closed session minutes from Dec. 9 – released this week by the city – show that Charlotte believed it was a serious player for the plant.
Most of the property the city planned to give Boeing – 304 acres – is inside the boundaries for Charlotte Douglas. It is north of West Boulevard, west of Yorkmont Road and south of US Airways maintenance facilities.
The city planned to buy about 100 acres south of West Boulevard. The land is home to about 27 warehouses and other buildings. Some of it is vacant. Much of the adjoining land is already city-owned.
Jack Christine, deputy aviation director at Charlotte Douglas, told council members during the meeting that the city’s plan was to buy the businesses and help them move.
“It would not be our intent to put them out of business,” Christine said told council members. “We definitely want to try our best to relocate them as close to the airport as possible.”
The airport and city staff didn’t give an estimate during the meeting as to how much the property acquisition would cost.
Greensboro and Kinston also made bids for the plant.
City officials scrambled to meet Boeing’s tight deadline. They first learned about the possibility of landing the plant around Thanksgiving and submitted a site proposal to Boeing on Dec. 10, a day after the council meeting.
The closed session meeting only covered the city’s site for the plant. Council members and city officials did not discuss incentives, which likely would have run into the tens of millions of dollars.
During the meeting, City Manager Ron Carlee said the state was prepared to “do some fairly unprecedented things” to land the Boeing plant.
The city’s site would have been divided by West Boulevard. But Christine told council members he didn’t think that was a deal breaker.
“We can connect the two sides with a series of taxiways or roadway bridges,” Christine told council members.
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