Scottsdale is assembling a tent at WestWorld with more open space than any other in the U.S. in the hope that it will retain the nation’s largest classic car auction and lure new tenants to the city-run venue.
The $2 million multiuse facility is being pieced together as part of a project intended, in part, to help retain the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction.
Craig Jackson, the auction’s president, "wanted more depth and that’s why he was constantly talking about maybe going to Glendale, where the (Arizona Cardinals) stadium or the (Glendale) Arena maybe had that," said Brad Gessner, West-World general manager.
Emblazoned with a giant U.S. flag on its roof, the facility is 315 feet wide by 380 feet long — 119,700 square feet of space. Scottsdale purchased the massive structure from Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, Calif. It was shipped in pieces to Scottsdale on trucks.
Work to reassemble it should be completed by month’s end, Gessner said.
"It all disassembles, like Tinkertoys almost," he said.
The city is negotiating with Jackson for a long-term contract to keep the auction, Scottsdale’s most lucrative event, at WestWorld.
Jackson has in the past talked with Glendale and the Gila River Indian Community about relocating the auction.
Scottsdale looked to purchase the tent-like structure to meet Jackson’s needs as plans to upgrade WestWorld with other new facilities are drawn up.
The city got lucky in its search when Victorville officials realized the structure they purchased to be an aircraft hangar would do them no good, Gessner said.
There are few such structures in the U.S., he said, so Scottsdale moved quickly to purchase this one.
"Victorville kinda came to this ‘Oh, darn’ conclusion," Gessner said.
Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing had intended to use the Victorville airport to make alterations to its 747 aircraft and needed a facility in which four could be parked at once.
Victorville acquired the structure from a Bakersfield, Calif., law firm and quickly found that it was not tall enough for the task.
The law firm — Borton, Petrini & Conron — originally had the facility built to house its annual convention as Bakersfield had no place that could hold 10,000 people, said Katrina Nelson, the firm’s administrator.
As a convention center, the facility played host to former President George H. W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, according to Scottsdale officials.