Air­port sets sights on next project

Tampa In­ter­na­tional awards $66M con­tract for an ad­ja­cent pri­vate de­vel­op­ment.

Tampa Bay Times - - Front Page - Times Staff Writer Con­tact Richard Daniel­son at rdaniel­[email protected]­ or (813) 226-3403. BY RICHARD DANIEL­SON

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.

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