A Boeing 747 formerly operated by United Airlines has been spotted completely stripped of all paintwork and standing in bare metal. The aircraft is set to have its wings removed ahead of being moved to Seattle. There, it will be turned into a luxury lounge for Seattle’s new 1200 Stewart development.
It’s not often you see a bare metal bird these days, so this Boeing 747 caught the eye when it was spotted completely devoid of all paint in Victorville, California, last week. Despite having no distinctive characteristics, the aircraft has been identified as N178UA, a former United Airlines Boeing 747-400.
Update: A former United 747-400 N178UA has been stripped of airline livery. The jet will be stripped internally & have its wings taken off before being transported from VCV to become a lounge in Seattle’s new 1200 Stewart venue in 2022. Photo by Nathan https://t.co/D4L4IHHby2 pic.twitter.com/JgqVh08JeU
— Isaac ✈ Alexander (@jetcitystar) October 8, 2021
The 747 was delivered new to United in November 1990, and flew with the airline for 24 years before being withdrawn from use and stored. According to information from ch-aviation.com, it undertook more than 100,000 flight hours, taking off and landing almost 13,000 times during its working life.
While in service, the aircraft flew with a four-class cabin. Its 222 economy class seats were complemented by 88 economy plus, 52 business, and 12 first class positions. But none of that matters now, because as well as the paint, the aircraft is set to lose all of its interior and even its wings to enable it to be repurposed into something quite different.
N178UA is set to become a lounge within Seattle’s newest and swankiest development, 1200 Stewart. Having had the wings and interior removed, it will be shipped to Seattle for positioning in the ‘galleria’ between the development’s twin skyscrapers. Images shared online show how it will look when in position:
1200 Stewart, a mixed-use development project in Seattle, involves rehabilitating and installing a Boeing 747, which will be part of a floating office, bar, and music venue. #avgeek pic.twitter.com/DodpSloIyO
— 🕸 hal-Lo-ween 🕸 (@limadeltaflies) December 18, 2020
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
A fitting tribute
Boeing has been a big part of Seattle for more than 100 years. Since the early days when Bill Boeing founded the earliest iteration of the Boeing Company on the shores of Lake Union, the firm has become an integral part of the way of life in the city and in Washington State – barely any Seattle resident does not have a friend or family member who has not worked for Boeing at some point.
For that reason, paying homage to this behemoth aerospace business makes sense. To decorate one of the city’s most state-of-the-art developments with what was Boeing’s most important aircraft is a fitting tribute to the planemaker.
Leading real estate developers Westbank Corporation are working with architects Henriquez Partners to create the new complex. In a statement, Westbank commented,
“The unique geometry of the galleria at 1200 Stewart, presents the opportunity to create a distinct presence downtown, for a company that has played an integral role in Seattle, historically as well as today as an economic leader and global innovator.
“Through a visually arresting design that transforms a Boeing 747 airplane into a reimagined space, we envision the Boeing 747 stripped down, suspended in the center of the galleria, exposing its raw aluminum fuselage as a work of art. The rear assembly, the landing gear and the nose of the plane will remain intact, with only the wings being shortened to fit into the space.”
1200 Stewart is in the Denny Triangle of Seattle, at the intersection of Stewart Street and Denny Way. It will house more than 1,000 residential apartments and various retail spaces in its two 48 story skyscrapers. The retail space will feature a music venue, a Trader Joe’s and other facilities, while the residential skyscrapers will have a rooftop patio, a dog park, and a swimming pool. It is anticipated to open in 2022.