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Multi-party land deal nearly doubles footprint of Morris Air National Guard Base

  • Published
  • By Maj. Angela Walz
  • 162nd Wing

Military leaders from the Morris Air National Guard (ANG) Base in Tucson, Ariz., finalized a long-awaited deal with Pima County this month that will allow the base to nearly double in acreage, expanding its footprint from 94 to almost 179 acres.

The underlying intent of the $1.9 million purchase is to reserve land required for a future military construction (MILCON) munitions storage area (MSA) project with a $22.3 million price tag. The MSA will be located offsite of Morris but will permit for further construction on the base once the MSA project is complete.

“This project addresses significant safety, security and capacity concerns associated with the existing MSA,” said Colonel Greg Hoffman, 162nd Mission Support Group commander. “The current location interior to the base also impedes future development and limits construction of new base facilities or improvements,” he said. 

The multi-party effort for the 162nd Wing’s MILCON MSA project dates to 2017. The ANG’s 162nd Wing, located at Morris Air National Guard Base, collaborated with Pima County, Raytheon, and the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) to plan the development of a buffer area to the south of Air Force Plant 44 (AFP44) that exceeds safety arc requirements for weapons. APF44 is a manufacturing facility located on property owned by the U.S. Air Force and operated under contract by Raytheon.

As part of the collaboration, the City of Tucson acquired more than 297 acres from TAA in 2020 and, as part of that transaction, Pima County was deeded a portion of the parcel to hold with the intent to sell to the ANG for the future MSA. The ANG did not have appropriated funding for the purchase at the time and would not have been able to secure the federal funding without this alliance.

With the 162nd Wing’s proximity and shared use of the runway, security, and fire control with the Tucson International Airport (TIA) -- which is operated by TAA -- shared goals and a blossoming community-based partnership between the wing and the TAA has become common for both entities in recent years. In 2021, for example, the 162nd Wing and TAA partnered on a $350 million End-Around Taxiway project (referred to as DBB1). DBB1 is the first of three projects associated with the Airfield Safety Enhancement program at TIA.

Another pending partnership is a new entryway to the Morris Air National Guard Base. Two years ago, a letter of intent was signed between several stakeholders after almost seven years of negotiations. The highlights of the agreement include: The ANG acquiring approximately 10 acres of land at the southeast corner of East Valencia Road and South Park Avenue to develop its new main gate entrance; The ANG designing and constructing the new entrance, which will be off Park Avenue, at its own expense. 

TAA has already relocated a 35,000 square-foot hangar near the airport’s air traffic control tower on the west side of the airfield to be sold to the ANG. They will sell the airport property to ANG at appraised fair market value to include the full replacement value of the hangar and, with the proceeds, reimburse funds that were expended to construct the replacement hangar.  Fiscal Year 2023 funding for both the land acquisition and construction has been authorized in the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act.