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Boeing purchases SCRA office complex

By Matt Tomsic
Published Dec. 4, 2012

The Boeing Co. is purchasing the SCRA Applied Research Center, further cementing the aerospace giant’s operations in North Charleston.

Boeing and SCRA both expect the deal to close Dec. 13. Details about the price for the 178,000-square-foot complex were not released, though spokeswomen for both companies said the price reflects fair market value. The complex appraised for $25 million in 2010. It sits adjacent to Boeing's North Charleston campus, where the company assembles and delivers 787 Dreamliners.

“We don’t have any specific plans right now, but really one of the reasons we did this is to protect for future growth plans,” said Candy Eslinger, a spokeswoman for Boeing. “It just made sense for that particular area. It’s right outside our gate. We kind of encircle that property anyway.”

Now, the complex houses offices for SCRA, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the Lowcountry Graduate Center, Boeing and others. SCRA uses its offices for its applied research and commercialization operations.

Micki Howard, a spokeswoman for SCRA, said the company will continue to be the property manager through 2014 and won’t leave until all of its tenants find new offices. Howard said SCRA has been looking for its own new space, too.

“Once every tenant is gone, we will exit,” Howard said. “We obviously want to take care of our tenants.”

SCRA owns the office complex, but the Charleston County Aviation Authority owns the 20 acres of land where the complex sits. Eslinger said Boeing is purchasing the buildings from SCRA and leasing the land from the aviation authority.

Boeing and SCRA have been talking about the deal for some time, Eslinger and Howard said, and SCRA sees the deal as a win-win.

“I would imagine that due to their close proximity, it’s not hard to figure out why they would want the space,” Howard said. “I think it’s been ongoing for quite some time. We’re glad with this deal. It’s good news for everyone really. It’s great for Boeing; it’s great for the state.”

Eslinger said the purchase adds to Boeing’s investment in the Lowcountry. Aside from its current operations, the aerospace giant also has an option on a tract of land in Palmetto Commerce Park behind its Interiors Responsibility Center, where workers assemble interior components for the Dreamliner. Eslinger said the company doesn’t have any updates or plans for that tract as of now.

“From our end, it’s important for people to realize this is an additional investment that Boeing’s making in South Carolina,” Eslinger said. “It means we’re committed to South Carolina.”