Second Large-Scale Mural Unveiled at Flite Goodyear Campus
Flite Goodyear Doubles Down on History through Art
An office and manufacturing campus developed on the site of the former Goodyear Aircraft Co. has completed the second in a series of murals honoring the site’s rich history. The first mural in the series features a Goodyear F2G Corsair fighter, a key aircraft for the Navy during World War. The second over-sized pictorial stands at 40 feet wide and 16 feet high and is an image of an SR-71 “Blackbird” high-altitude supersonic spy plane, painted by Phoenix artist Randall Hedden. Both murals are located at 1300 South Litchfield Road.
The developer of Flite Goodyear, Reliance Management, chose to feature the Cold War-era SR-71 because the aircraft employed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which – according to manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. – “gave the Blackbird ‘eyes’ that could identify objects about 30 feet in diameter up to 100 miles away from a height of more than 80,000 feet, all while traveling at as much as three times the speed of sound.” SAR was invented by engineer Carl Wiley at Goodyear Aircraft in the early 1950s. According to the developer, “that was one of the main focuses of the plant. The plant existed in two major phases: first to manufacture aircraft for World War II and second as a radar-research facility.”
Over the years, Goodyear Aircraft was sold to Loral Defense Systems and eventually evolved by merger and acquisition into the current Lockheed Martin. In 2006, Reliance seized the opportunity to purchase the property with the long-term goal of not only creating a location for industrial and office businesses but also a community gathering place with covered patios, walkways and eventually an onsite pond with walking and running trails.
The latest incarnation of the mixed-use campus, was once where the famous Goodyear blimps were built for the U.S. Navy in the 1940s. It is comprised of more than 1,000,000 square feet divided among 19 buildings. About 78 percent of that is industrial space, the remaining 126,000 square feet is described as "creative office space” which complements the existing architecture of the historic buildings. "We’re going to highlight the history of the site,” said the developer. “The facility was an extremely important part of the city of Goodyear’s history and war efforts. We hope to capture that in the design of the space.” The campus is being revitalized with the idea that a new or expanding technology business would embrace the past innovations while creating a rich future in the unique, retro setting of the up-and-coming west valley location.
The area just south of I-10 was once defined by the high-security walls and gate guards designed to keep people out. With the addition of the murals, historic photographic images, and the planned industrial art, the site will be more open encouraging people to visit. In fact, the parking lot around the property should be ready for visitors in mid-November. The developer invites the community to come out to see the murals and the plans for the property. The murals can be seen from Litchfield Road, just south of Yuma Road, where the campus sits adjacent to Goodyear Airport.The initial plan is for three murals, but they indicate more are likely to be added.