Boeing to pay more for less land at Charleston International Airport
Boeing Co. is scaling back plans to amass more land around its North Charleston campus for future expansions.
Other airport news
The 13-member Aviation Authority will elect new officers today. Local attorney Andy Savage is expected to be re-elected as chairman.
The Charleston County Aviation Authority will consider a deal today to sell less property to the planemaker for more money after the site was reappraised to meet Federal Aviation Administration recommendations.
The amount of land around Charleston International Airport that Boeing will buy is being reduced to about 267 acres from 320 acres, airports director Paul Campbell said Wednesday. It will pay at least $13.8 million, to about $52,000 an acre.
The airport board voted in March to sell the property for $12.5 million, or about $39,000 an acre, but the FAA, which had to sign off on the sale, questioned the deal.
Under the new plan, Boeing won’t seek to purchase about 20 acres near the air traffic control tower and will not buy about 34 acres of wetlands across from its 787 Dreamliner manufacturing campus, Campbell said.
Under the new deal, Boeing also won’t be buying parts of International Boulevard and part of Michaux Parkway after road realignments open up those sites for development. The company also is giving up its rights to buy 488 acres straddling Michaux at Dorchester Road and abutting the Air Force base, Boeing South Carolina spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said.
Both of those items were included in the original purchase agreement.
The price difference comes from an FAA-approved methodology for more in-depth, separate appraisals of each of the parcels, Eslinger said.
“We’ve reached what we believe to be a final agreement (with the Aviation Authority) which is what they will vote on,” Eslinger said. “We think we will be able to move forward with a land purchase before the end of the year.”
Campbell said the Aviation Authority must change the sale agreement, and the FAA must then give it the go ahead. He hopes the sale can be finalized 30 to 45 days after it is posted in the Federal Register.
“I’m happy with it because we got more than what we started with,” Campbell said. “We tried to take into consideration all the changes the FAA requested.”
He added the agreement could still be tweaked, but it is basically ready for approval.
Boeing has not said what it plans to do with the land, but the aerospace giant is not expected to sit on it.
“We have no current plans for the property rather than to protect it for any possible future growth in South Carolina,” Eslinger said.
Aviation analysts have floated a number of possibilities, including assembling the extended 787-10, building the 777X or the eventual successor to the 737 MAX. Adding a paint facility at the site could make sense since Dreamliners built in North Charleston must be flown to Texas to be painted and then flown back to South Carolina for delivery to customers.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warren lancewise.