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McDonnell Douglas was chosen Wednesday as a potential lessee for Tooele Army Depot's $110 million Consolidated Maintenance Facility.

The state-of-the-art automated truck repair facility is the most valuable piece of real estate in the depot's north area, which the Army has announced it will close soon and turn over to local control.Future uses of the facility and other buildings in the depot's 1,700-acre industrial complex are being plotted by military, city, county and business representatives serving on the Tooele County Base Reuse Committee.

The committee announced in April it was considering truck builders Freightliner and Oshkosh as prime candidates to occupy the Consolidated Maintenance Facility. But that changed after the base reuse committee met behind closed doors Wednesday to consider another proposal.

"McDonnell Douglas Corporation, through its component Douglas Aircraft Company, has been selected by the Tooele County Base Reuse Committee, as agent for the Redevelopment Agency of Tooele City, as a potential lessee," said committee chairman Earl Tate.

There may be more unknowns than answers at this stage of the negotiation, but McDonnell Douglas would use the building as a sub-assembly plant for components of MD-11 commercial jets if it got the lease, said Scott Muir, Tooele County economic development director.

Freightliner and Oshkosh were attractive prospects because of the likelihood they could move into the facility quickly and re-employ TAD workers whose jobs with the Army will end in several months.

Muir said he could not speculate how many workers could be re-employed with McDonnell Douglas if the lease works out but said the prospects were better than with Freightliner and Oshkosh.

Lease arrangements could be finished in 60 days, he said. If the deal does not work out, the base reuse committee, acting as an agent for the Tooele City Redevelopment Agency, can revisit other proposals.

Some 40 major corporations have toured the facility since the RDA hung out the "For Rent" sign. "We have paraded that facility in front of all of the country's corporations that would have the ability, fiscal and otherwise, to use a facility of that size," Muir said.

Several deals are in the works simultaneously: details between the Army and the RDA on transferring property and the RDA's negotiations with McDonnell Douglas.

The Army has expedited the transition from military use to private industry by allowing the RDA to take control of individual facilities that are ready to lease, such as the Consolidated Maintenance Facility.

At this point, the McDonnell Douglas deal is proceeding before either McDonnell Douglas or the RDA know what the Army's asking price will be for the repair facility, which cost Uncle Sam $110 million to build just a few years ago.