Mercedes-Benz this week signed a blockbuster real estate deal to rent a huge building in Long Beach that was once used by Boeing to make the 717 airliner.
What exactly Mercedes plans to do with the facility is a mystery. The building is more than 1 million square feet. That’s enough to fit 12 Staples Centers – with room left over. It’s almost a quarter-mile across.
“Near as our research can determine, it’s the largest industrial transaction in L.A. County in the last 25 years,” said Brian DeRevere of the CRBE Group, which represented the landlord in the deal – SARES-REGIS.
The building has been mostly vacant since the airplane manufacturer moved out in 2006. SARES-REGIS bought it from Boeing last year.
DeRevere says the lease is long-term, but declined to give details on price, or much else.
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster was more forthcoming.
“The primary purpose is to bring vehicles and get them prepped for sale, to get them ready for distribution to their dealers,” said Foster.
Foster said the building would have other uses, but he declined to specify.
The mayor said the city didn’t offer any tax incentives to attract Mercedes. But Foster said the German automaker would likely bring lots of jobs to Long Beach.
“I expect it will be a fairly significant employer when they’re finished,” he added.
As for Mercedes, it turned down an interview request, only releasing the blandest of corporate statements: “The site is part of continual efforts to improve our regional business operations throughout the U.S. and better service our customers,” it said.
Mercedes promised to help solve the mystery by providing more details in the coming weeks.
The company plans to move in early next year.