Boeing plan would bring Silicon Valley services to its South Carolina site

Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:28pm EDT
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By Harriet McLeod

NORTH CHARLESTON S.C. (Reuters) - Boeing Co is expected to receive final approval on Thursday to build what could be a Silicon Valley-style corporate campus as part of a major expansion of its factory in South Carolina.

Boeing has asked officials to rezone 466 acres of newly acquired land for use as an "Aerospace Campus," with dining and other consumer conveniences more familiar to employees of Inc or Google Inc than airplane factory workers.

Boeing, which tends to be guarded about any future expansion, said there no immediate plans to start erecting the new services, but it is not ruling them out.

The conceptual plan shows the "maximum utilization" of the site "as potential future business needs might dictate," spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said.

The new zoning would enable Boeing to include restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, dry cleaners, office supply stores, travel agencies, barber shops, newsstands, convenience stores, and child care, health and postal facilities, according to plans filed with the city of North Charleston.

The proposed expansion, due for a vote by city officials on Thursday, highlights the growing potential of Boeing's South Carolina factory. The plans also stand out in the community, said city planner Charles Drayton.

"They’re building a corporate atmosphere, more than just an industrial park," he said. "It’s unusual in North Charleston."

Planned communities in the city of just over 100,000 residents are mostly associated with residential and commercial use, Drayton said. "This one happens to be industrial and commercial, which makes it unique."   Continued...

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Jim Young