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McClellan Air Force Base, Colorado Redevelopment Profile

Previously the single largest industrial facility in Northern California, the McClellan Business Park now hosts 300 private and public organizations with approximately 17,000 employees.

Program:

Mission Realignment

Military Service:

Air Force

McClellan Air Force Base Today

The McClellan Business Park is home to 300 private companies as well as federal, state and local government agencies. There are approximately 17,000 employees—twice as many civilian jobs as when the base closed—and 10,000 daily visitors to McClellan. Sacramento County owns and oversees the airfield while its master developer provides full-service, fixed-base operator services. McClellan’s homeless assistance efforts include Serna Village, a permanent supportive housing program for 83 formerly homeless families with disabilities and minor-aged children. Open space and environmentally sensitive areas sit on the west side, and a Historic District on the east.

Companies at McClellan include Northrup Grumman, the U.S. Coast Guard, USDA Wildlife Academy, Berger Steel, California Department of Transportation, California Fire, Twin Rivers School District, Lions Gate Hotel, The McClellan Conference Center, AmeriCorps, Siemens, the Aerospace Museum of California, Sunergy Corporation, General Dynamics, XO Jets, Flight Options, Ozark Trucking, Dome Printing, PODS, Villara Corporation, and Patriot Rail.

McClellan Business Park estimates 76 percent of the park’s available space is occupied. At full build-out, McClellan Business Park will be able to accommodate a workforce of 35,000.

Background

Located seven miles northeast of Sacramento, California, McClellan Air Force Base (AFB) served as a logistics and maintenance facility for a wide variety of military aircraft, equipment, and supplies. Previously called the Sacramento Air Depot, McClellan was established in 1936 and served as a pivotal supply depot on the west coast during World War II, employing 17,652 civilians and 4,250 military from 1941 to 1945. After the war, McClellan served as one of five major depots in the United States, providing repair and maintenance services for military aircraft. The base reached its peak employment in 1967 with 26,326 personnel. In addition to aircraft repair, McClellan supported electronics manufacturing, software development, scientific research, and supply logistics.

The 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended McClellan AFB for closure. It officially closed in July 2001, resulting in the loss of 8,828 civilian jobs. The closure was estimated to have a $1.5B annual impact to the regional economy.

McClellan AFB was the third, and largest, base to close in the Sacramento area. Mather AFB (BRAC 1988) closed in September 1993, and Sacramento Army Depot (BRAC 1991) closed in March 1995. Consequently, community officials were well versed on the closure process.

On July 26, 1995, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution designating Sacramento County as the authority to oversee the privatization and conversion of McClellan. The County Board of Supervisors created the Mission McClellan Executive Advisory Committee (MMEAC) to act as an advisory body on matters related to the privatization, reuse, and conversion of the base, and to advise the board on the appropriate structure and format for carrying out subsequent activities.

The MMEAC consisted of 18 members representing the Board of Supervisors, the mayor of the City of Sacramento, the governor, the state assembly and congressional representatives for the area, the commander of McClellan AFB, the Chamber of Commerce, McClellan AFB employee organizations, the University of California, and the California State University.

After closure was announced, the Board also created a public involvement program with two volunteer advisory bodies – a Planning Team and an Action Team – to advise the county regarding redevelopment issues.

In 1997, the county attempted to keep the Department of Defense’s workload at McClellan through open competition. Although unsuccessful, this competitive effort resulted in aggressive reuse planning which established the preferred reuse of McClellan as an aviation-industrial facility. The county acquired McClellan Business Park as its master developer/equity partner in June 1999.

Despite being designated as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site, 2,069 acres of land at McClellan was transferred from the Air Force through the county to McClellan Business Park. The Air Force, county, and its master developer entered into five Environmental Services Cooperative Agreements (ESCAs), enabling the county and McClellan Business Park to remediate environmentally contaminated parcels ahead of Air Force schedules to the benefit of the Air Force and the community. The 2007 McClellan ESCA was the first early transfer with privatized remediation for a Department of Defense Superfund site. As of 2019, only 189 acres remain to be conveyed by the Air Force.

To prevent buildings and infrastructure from deteriorating, Sacramento County, its master developer, and the Air Force formed a partnership to “hot transfer” buildings, utilities, and other assets to ensure their success. Prior to official closure, base utilities were transferred to utility providers and private businesses were brought into vacant buildings, enabling employment at McClellan to continue and redevelopment to begin. This prevented the base from being shuttered and allowed for a smooth transition to civilian use.

Sacramento County was also proactive in its redevelopment planning. This included:

  1. Sequential development of a Reuse Plan (i.e., 1996 Conceptual Reuse Plan, 1997 Revised Reuse Plan, and 2002 Final Reuse Plan);
  2. Adoption of a Special Planning Area zoning ordinance; and
  3. Creation of detailed planning documents (e.g., Draft Implementation Plan including an Airport Layout Plan, Public Roadways Master Plan, Storm Water Drainage Master Plan, Sanitary Sewer Master Plan, and Public Facilities Financing Plan).

These plans combined with a committed and talented master developer/equity partner, and significant financial investment from multiple sources (e.g., $225 million from tenants, $375 million from McClellan Business Park, and $160 million in grants from state and Federal agencies) have led to great success at McClellan.

Updated October 2020