Dallas: Construction Underway for 2019 Opening of Braniff Centre
by Adolfo Pesquera
Dallas (Dallas County) – Partial demolition has been underway for several weeks at the former headquarters of Braniff International Airways, in preparation for the $140 million construction of the mixed-use Braniff Centre.
While most of the interior is being gutted, the basic structure of the exterior will be preserved as it is considered historically significant. Braniff began operations at Love Field in 1942 and constructed the landmark facilities between 1955-1958. The airline ceased operations in 1992. It later became the home of DalFort Aerospace, which operated there until 2002.
The Braniff Airways Foundation formed a preservation group in 2012 to lobby to save the Braniff site at Dallas Love Field, and the Texas Historical Commission participated in the design process.
The preservation campaign was a reaction to an earlier attempt to demolish the site. Instead, Dallas aviation entrepreneur and car dealer Randall Reed began working on terms in 2012 with the City Council to control development of the site. In January 2015, Reed Enterprises agreed to spend $35 million on an aviation use within three years, and $20 million for commercial use within five years in exchange for a long-term lease.
Soon after, Reed recruited Dallas developers Lincoln Property Company and Blue Star Land (owned by Jerry Jones) to create a mixed use development of private fixed based aviation operators, new office, restaurant and retail spaces. Reed will also relocate his Park Cities Lincoln dealership to the new center, renaming it Planet Lincoln Love Field.
TAC Air FBO at Braniff Centre – Dallas Love Field, Ramp Side rendering by The Gravity Company.
According to a filing by Kansas City, Missouri-based architect Burns & McDonnell with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, renovations of the existing hangar and maintenance facility were to begin in March at an estimated cost of $17.6 million. That phase of the project is to be completed by May 2019. In addition to input from the Texas Historical Commission, Burns & McDonnell collaborated with The Gravity Company to ensure they met preservation guidelines for the original building design by William Pereira and Charles Luckman.
TAC Air and Flexjet LLC have entered agreements to be the fixed base operators on the 26-acre property, located in the northeast quadrant of the airport at 7701 Lemmon Avenue. The restaurant and retail spaces will be located along the main entrance, facing Lemmon.
TAC Air will occupy 200,000 square feet in the aviation/business center and played a lead role in the site’s redevelopment.
The FBO of TAC Air will feature amenities such as controlled access to private hangars and an executive terminal, concierge services that include catering, auto detailing, local event reservations, auto-to-aircraft valet, and secured access to retail facilities within Braniff Centre.
“When open, you will take a step back to the mid-century era of aviation in Dallas, with Braniff archives on display in the public areas,” said Greg Arnold, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based The Arnold Companies, parent company of TAC Air.
The former Braniff Airways headquarters at Love Field as it appeared in October 2017. Courtesy: Google Maps.
Cleveland, Ohio-based Flexjet will open a private terminal, maintenance hangar, office space and covered parking garage alongside the TAC Air FBO and other businesses.
“At our core, we are an aviation company, and the ability to tie a portion of our future to somewhere that has such historical significance in aviation is a perfect fit for us,” said Flexjet CEO Michael Silvestro. “It not only gives us a significant presence at a key airport, it also brings our entire Dallas team together in waht will become one of our flagship regional facilities.”
Flexjet staff in Richardson are planning to move into a 32,000-square-foot custom designed office space by November. However, the Dallas terminal will open to Flexjet clients in June 2019.
Flexjet maintenance operations previously based in Addison will move into a 60,000-square-foot hangar at Braniff Centre with ramp access.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration redevelopment report, the project also includes construction of a new office building with underground parking.
A Braniff 747SP at Los Angeles International Airport in 1981. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
This report includes excerpts from TAC Air and Flexjet LLC press releases.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.