When Boeing took off from it’s comfortable Long Beach location, the birth site of the C-17, plenty of questions arose regarding what’s next for the 1 million-square-foot facility near the airport. Just a couple short years subsequent to the aircraft giant’s departure, Relativity Space has signed a new long-term lease to land the 93-acre property bringing aerospace production back to the storied building.
Relativity designs and 3D-prints rocket engines and rockets, as well as a number of other launch vehicles to support commercial orbital launch services.
“Securing this space for Relativity Headquarters, which is now one of the largest facilities in private space, right here in Long Beach, is key for scaling out our Terran R program, while also continuing to tap into the unparalleled talent here to join us on our mission,” Relativity Space CEO and co-founder Tim Ellis said in a statement.
The move comes at a time when the fervor for space exploration is at an all-time high for SoCal especially with SpaceX’s announcement of new technologies that are in direct competition with Relativity’s fully reusable and 3D-printed rocket. Similar companies include VirginOrbit, SpinLaunch, and Morf3D. The layout is ideal for aerospace companies since it includes the very same features that allowed McDonnell Douglas and Boeing to thrive in their buildings.
But more important to the city and real estate developers in the retail and industrial sectors, is the re-zoning that underwent thanks to the Globemaster Corridor Specific Plan (GCSP) adopted by Long Beach in May. The GCSP was conjured in 2014 as a potential response and reimagining of the area once the city found out that Boeing was going to close production on the C-17.
“We took it very seriously on the planning side,” Long Beach Deputy Director of Development Services Christopher Koontz said. “It’s not just trying to create some pretty buildings. It’s really about the city’s employment future and economic future. It’s about having opportunities for residents to have some great jobs here in the city.”
The purpose of the GCSP is to foster a strong economic base much like the one present when McDonnell Douglas and Boeing anchored that region of Long Beach. Of the first major restructurings was changing the zoning to accommodate commercial, industrial, business park, and airport uses which paves the way for future hotel, retail, and restaurant developments that will serve the over 2,000 employees expected at the plant, plus residents.
“’We were intent on building our footprint in Long Beach,’ Ellis said, citing the city’s talent pool and status as an innovation hub.”