If all goes as planned, TAC Air will open its 15th FBO in August in a more than $100 million redevelopment of the former Braniff Airlines Operations and Maintenance Base and Braniff International Airways headquarters. Built by the flamboyant and now defunct Texas-based airline and opened in 1958 at Dallas Love Field (DAL), the maintenance hangars and offices have been undergoing a conversion to the Braniff Centre, whose tenants in addition to TAC Air will include Flexjet; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s company, Blue Star Land, a Jones Family company; and Reed Enterprises and its auto dealership Planet Lincoln, the latter two of which are converting a multi-level parking garage adjacent to the center into offices and a luxury automobile dealership.
Another feature of the center is 100,000 sq ft of space for uses that are expected to include restaurants, retail shops, and offices. “We really had to get thoughtful in the design of the center,” Greg Arnold, chairman and CEO of The Arnold Companies, TAC Air’s parent, told AIN.
It’s an ambitious, 19-month-long project between developers that include Arnold’s companies, the Jones Company, and Lincoln Property Company that’s meant working closely with the Texas Historical Commission to preserve the mid-century modern architecture of the hangars and offices originally designed by architects William Pereira and Charles Luckman. “It took three partners with very creative ideas and being in a top market like this” to pull off the project, TAC Air Air v-p and chief operating officer Christian Sasfai told AIN. One of the major changes to the 26-acre site included razing a Braniff office and maintenance shops building nestled between the two large hangars—which combined could hold six Boeing 707 jetliners—and replacing it with a gated, private courtyard and parking spaces for TAC Air and Flexjet customers.
Flexjet will occupy one of the two large hangars with a Red Label by Flexjet private terminal and 60,000 sq ft of maintenance space occupied by its maintenance operations staff who were previously located in Addison, Texas. Elsewhere at the Braniff Centre, it will occupy 32,000 sq ft of office space for its staff who are relocating there from Flexjet’s Richardson, Texas office. “By moving our Dallas operations to the same campus as our newest private terminal at Dallas Love Field, our employees will have the opportunity to deepen relationships with our owners, in person, as they pass through for their flights,” Flexjet CEO Michael Silvestro added.
TAC Air will occupy the other large hangar with an executive terminal and individual hangars that feature secured entries from the courtyard, as well as office suites and shop space. Inside the TAC Air terminal, a replica 1/25th-scale Braniff Boeing 727 will be suspended from the two-story ceiling as a nod to the building’s heritage. On the second floor of the executive terminal will be an event venue with a bar and catering space and the capability to hold up to 50 people. It can also be divided into smaller space for meetings. The venue also boasts one of the best views of the downtown Dallas skyline, The Arnold Companies v-p of marketing Tad Perryman told AIN. Amenities at the FBO will include valet car service with private parking, fuel service and auto detailing, and “elite,” trained staff and concierge offering top-notch customer service and safety. Arnold said TAC Air will pay above market to get quality employees at DAL. “It’s what we can do to differentiate ourselves on this field,” he added. Love Field’s other FBO tenants include Signature Flight Support, Business Jet Center, and Jet Aviation.
Planning for a second phase of the project, which will include construction of more hangar space at the south end of the Braniff Centre, is underway.
Opening an FBO in Dallas in an iconic building was the logical next step for The Arnold Companies, Arnold said. It is a robust market in a pro-business environment that is the home of his companies and headquarters for more than 100 publicly traded corporations including AT&T, Exxon Mobil, JC Penney, and Kimberly-Clark. Love Field in particular is among the FAA’s top 10 airports for domestic business jet operations, ranking No. 2 in the April 2019 Business Jet Report with 61,546 movements. “It’s about something that’s going to have solid earnings,” Arnold explained. To that end, he expects TAC Air-DAL will be among the company’s top three FBOs in earnings. Investment wise, however, it’s “at the top of the heap.”