A major piece of aviation history is up for sale in Edmonton, where aircrews once trained during the Second World War.
Hangar 14 sits on the former City Centre Airport lands at Kingsway and 114th Street. It was built in 1942, and is protected as both a provincial and municipal historic resource.
Some 80 years later, Hangar 14 is home to the Alberta Aviation Museum and requires about $42 million in repairs. Given the cost, the City of Edmonton decided to put the building up for sale.
“The city has a significant asset base, we own hundreds of buildings and many of them are sort of at a similar stage in age,” said Coun. Anne Stevenson, representing Ward O-day’min, where the museum is located.
“So, we’re really looking to rationalize those assets and make sure that we’re investing in the highest priorities.”
Council made the decision in July 2022 based on the city administration’s recommendation. Stevenson said there is a lot of potential in the space.
” I do know of at least one group that’s really interested,” Stevenson said.
“The opportunities are huge, you know, looking at how the space could be re-imagined to have other other uses on site. There’s also a fair amount of land that’s being sold as part of the property as well.”
The city has some requirements for whoever purchases the building, including honouring the museum’s existing lease. The city said the price has not been set and it is open to all offers that meet proposal requirements.
Among the repairs, the hangar needs significant structural work, including the roof.
“The hangar itself is 80 plus years old,” said Jean Lauzon, executive director of the museum.
“When they built them, they were only meant for between the seven and 15-year lifespan. We’re here 80 years later and it’s still in relatively good condition. It does need work, but for the structure itself it’s definitely stood the stand of time.”
After the Second World War ended, the Royal Canadian Air Force chose Hangar 14 as its headquarters.
The City of Edmonton took over ownership in 1962. Hangar 14 was eventually leased to the Alberta Aviation Museum Association, which welcomed its first visitors in 1992.
“Aviation played a huge part in creating and building Edmonton as a major city. It was listed as the gateway to the north,” Lauzon said.
She proposed another option — transferring ownership so the Alberta Aviation Museum Association could fundraise over a longer time period to cover repairs and maintenance.
“The city really wants to see the aviation museum succeed and succeed in its current location,” Stevenson said.
“So if there is a really feasible plan underway, if we can get support from other orders of government, absolutely that’s something we’ll entertain. The whole intent is just to find a way for this property to continue to thrive and for the museum to continue to thrive.”
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