Airport sets sights on next project
Tampa International awards $66M contract for an adjacent private development.
The board for Tampa International Airport on Thursday awarded a $66 million construction project to get work started on its planned SkyCenter development.
TAMPA — With the first phase of its $2 billion expansion complete, Tampa International Airport is turning its attention to the second, starting with a project designed to attract private development to a spot next to the airport’s massive new rental car center.
Construction is expected to begin in January on the project, known as the SkyCenter.
To start, contractor Hensel Phelps Construction will prepare the 35-acre site, then build the heart of the $66 million project: a large, multistory atrium designed to connect to an office building planned on the site. There also will be an enclosed elevated walkway connecting the SkyCenter to the rental car center and a reconfiguration of the cellphone waiting lot that includes new restrooms.
The site development and construction of the atrium and walkway are expected to be completed in 2020. Future plans for the SkyCenter include a hotel, stores and restaurants, and one or more office buildings. The airport is scheduled to select a developer for a nine-story office building at SkyCenter next to the atrium in February.
The airport’s administration will occupy three stories in the new building, allowing it to demolish its offices next to the main terminal and make more room for passengers. The threephase expansion is designed to allow the airport to handle 34 million passengers a year in its existing footprint, up from about 21 million passengers a year now.
The first phase began in November 2014 and included the new rental car center and a 1.4-mile-long SkyConnect train, plus an expansion of the main terminal and its concessions. That phase was completed in the last couple of months at a cost of about $981.5 million, making it one of the largest construction projects in the history of the Tampa Bay area.
“The passenger growth we’re experiencing at the airport underscores the importance of the entire master plan,” airport vice president of planning and development Jeff Siddle said in an announcement after a unanimous vote by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board. “SkyCenter is a key part of it. It will help us accommodate growth for years to come by allowing us to move our existing offices away from the terminal and repurpose that space for our passengers and guests.”
Along with the SkyCenter, Phase 2 includes adding express lanes to the airport’s main terminal pick-up and drop-off areas. The third phase will add a 16-gate airside to the airport.