Tampa, FL airport preps for second phase of $2.3B revamp
- The Hillsborough County (FL) Aviation Authority gave its official approval Thursday for the $543 million second phase of the $2.3 billion redevelopment of Tampa International Airport and the surrounding area, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
- This next piece of the airport's master plan will include the 17-acre "Gateway," a commercial project that will feature two hotels, an eight-story office building with 240,000 square feet of space, 20,000 square feet of retail and a gas station-convenience store. The HCAA will lease back some of the available office space, but a private developer will build, lease and manage the project.
- Real estate development components allow Tampa International and other airports with surplus land to establish new long-term revenue streams in an environment of limited funding options.
The HCAA unveiled its Gateway plan — which also includes a transit hub, widening the main road to the airport and adding an extra exit lane and an airport express drop-off — in April. At the time, the authority said it planned to finance the second of three phases through a 2018 bond issue and an increase in the per-passenger user fees that airlines pay.
Still ongoing is the $971 million first phase of the master plan, which features, retail, restaurants, a new people mover system and a 2.6-million-square-foot rental car facility. The $798 million third phase should begin in 2023 and will include construction of a 16-gate terminal that will serve both international and domestic traffic.
Tampa International is just one of several U.S. airports taking on massive modernization efforts. An Airports Council International—North America report released in March found that it would require $100 billion over the next five years to make the necessary improvements to the country's airports. On a per-year basis, the Airports Council International estimate adds up to double the funding that airports currently receive through user fees, grants and other revenue, and only certain types of projects qualify for the $3.35 billion the government doles out in federal Airport Improvement Program grants each year.
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