It has stood in San Diego since the 1940s. Thousands of people and brand-new planes have passed through its doors since then.
Now, the U.S. Navy and the San Diego Association of Governments are attempting to work together to redevelop the buildings, which are now home to the Naval Information Warfare System Command (NAVWAR).
The largest of the buildings can be seen by thousands of motorists driving along Interstate 5 through Old Town. The jagged white roof lines the western side of the highway.
“Those buildings are really old, and they are no longer able to meet the Navy’s critical cyber security mission,” said Caitlin Ostomel, Director of Public Relations for Navy Region Southwest.
Ostomel said the former airplane factory is now home to some of the Navy’s cyber warfare department. The Navy owns the buildings and it’s considering several plans to redevelop the property. Plans range from “doing nothing at all” to a high-density mixed-use plan that would also include a regional transit hub for the San Diego community, Ostomel said. Most of the plans include a modern facility for the Navy.
“We are open to any and all alternatives that will help us meet NAVWAR’s mission,” said Ostomel.
Jim Kidrick, President of the San Diego Air and Space Museum, would like to see some of the World War II-era buildings preserved.
“What was done in those buildings is really, really significant,” Kidrick said. “B-24 were being built there and sent to war. It was huge.”
Kidrick’s museum has an exhibit dedicated to the NAVWAR building, which was Consolidated Aircraft for most of its early life. Thousands of San Diegans built hundreds of planes for the war effort. Roughly 45,000 people were employed inside and helped put San Diego on the map, Kidrick said.
“A lot of them played a significant part of forming the history of San Diego,” he added.
“We need to be very careful there and what are the purposes that some of those buildings could do for the good of our community,” Kidrick added.
The Navy hosted a public meeting Thursday night to gauge community reaction to six different plans. They’ll host an additional meeting Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the Liberty Station Conference Center from 4 to 7 p..
“We want to make sure the city of San Diego and people in San Diego know what we’re trying to do and let us know what they think about it,” said Ostomel.