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Decommissioned 747 fuselage destined for downtown Seattle development

April 10, 2022
4 min read
A retired 747 in the desert prior to its move to Seattle to be a part of a development
Decommissioned 747 fuselage destined for downtown Seattle development
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Crafty people have turned out-of-service 747 airplanes into homes, hotels, hostels, cafes and museum exhibits.

Now Vancouver-based real estate developer Westbank Corp. is in the process of turning the fuselage and other salvaged parts of a decommissioned 747-400 (tail number N178UA) into the impossible-to-miss centerpiece of a mixed-used development in downtown Seattle.

(Rendering by Hayes Davidson, courtesy of Westbank)

Westbank’s 1.2 million square WB1200 project will include two residential towers with more than one thousand units, a three-level shopping area, workspace, a Live National Filmore Music Venue, a Trader Joe’s grocery store and a restaurant concept.

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To draw attention and pay homage to the Seattle-founded Boeing Company, the project architects plan to have the aluminum fuselage of a Boeing 747 suspended between the two residential towers. Westbank says the rear assembly, landing gear and the nose of the plane will remain intact and the airplane’s wings will get shortened to fit the space.

Workers dismantle the Boeing 747, which will eventually be featured as part of the new Seattle development. (Photo Lukas Dong, courtesy of Westbank)

Plans call for the interior of the plane to serve as Westbank’s Seattle office, and as a public exhibit space for special occasions, with the tail section forming the entrance to the Live Nation music venue.

The idea to include the airplane into the mixed-use project comes from Japanese architects OSO. Montalba Architects is designing the plane’s interior office space. And the project’s overall design is by Henriquez Partners Architects.

“What we are hoping to convey with our WB1200 project is the story of Seattle’s industry, innovation and evolution,” Westbank said in a statement. “Seattle-founded Boeing has been a world leader in aviation for generations. Today, we are all standing on the shoulders of previous pioneers. At WB1200, we are looking to both recognize that legacy and at the same time, point to the future of Seattle.”

Westbank initially shared a rendering of the project last year. The 250-foot-long airplane is currently being dismantled in the airplane graveyard in Victorville, CA and is scheduled to be trucked to Seattle, put back together, and installed sometime in the summer of 2022. Although, like everything else these days, the pandemic could stretch out the schedule.

Related: Boeing ending production of 747

The Boeing 747, which came to be known as the “Queen of the Skies” and ushered in the age of the wide-body passenger jet, is no longer being produced.

The view from above the 747. (Photo by Lukas Dong, courtesy of Westbank)

However, the 747 “gave the golden age of air travel a boost just as the 1960s ended,” says Mathew Burchette, senior curator of Seattle’s Museum of Flight. “Its huge passenger capacity helped lower ticket prices, making air travel accessible for middle-class travelers. It was the height of luxury. And even today, the 747 remains a symbol of glamorous air travel.”

Burchette is fine with a 747 fuselage being part of a downtown Seattle office/residential project.

“I like that the aircraft is being used as part of an architectural design,” said Burchette, “It shows how creative the architect is, and I like that an aircraft that was so instrumental in aviation history is getting a new home back in the place of its birth.”

Featured image by Photo by Lukas Dong, courtesy of Westbank
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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