Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Business

Tampa International Airport brings car rental companies under one roof

TAMPA — One selling point of Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano's $943 million plan to remake the airport is that it would make renting cars there a whole lot easier.

Instead of looking for deals on or off airport property, customers in the ninth largest rental market in the nation would be able to choose from a range of prices, choices and companies all under one roof.

That perk will be a reality in two years: The airport said that nine rental companies — representing 16 different brands — have signed agreements to use its new 2.6 million-square-foot rental facility months before its even set to break ground this fall.

"I personally did not expect to sign them up so quickly," Lopano said this week. "But I will tell you that I am very, very happy that we have them on-site now."

Most of the companies that serve the airport, including several that are now off-site, have signed agreements, officials said. Those contracts must still be approved by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, the airport's governing board, on June 4.

When it's finished, the new car rental facility will be a four-minute ride from the renovated main terminal using a new 1.3-mile automated people mover.

Once the shuttle doors slide open in the new rental car facility, Lopano said, customers will have access to most of the rental brands, big and small, serving the airport. That means no more bus rides off airport property looking for a better deal.

"Even if you don't have a reservation, you'll be able to see everything from the $29 car to the $200 car," Lopano said. "You can shop the room. From a customer service standpoint, it is the optimal situation."

Many other airports have built consolidated rental car facilities. But Lopano pledged that: "This will be finest rental car experience in the country."

The new facility is projected to generate an additional $8 million annually for the airport, officials said.

Under the airport's current agreements with rental car agencies, it's guaranteed a minimum of $23.1 million a year. But under the new contracts, that will rise 34 percent to $31 million.

"That's the minimum," said airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps, "but obviously we expect this market to grow."

In fact, the four-story rental car facility will be 300,000 square feet bigger than airport officials originally intended. They added space to fit the entire Tampa car rental market and give it enough space to handle 10 years of projected growth.

The airport currently has four major players operating in the main terminal: Avis Budget Group Inc., Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Hertz Corp. and Thrifty Car Rental.

Airport officials said that when those companies move to the new facility, Thrifty will be absorbed by its parent company, Hertz. The three big players will then share counter space on the fourth floor with their subsidiaries, smaller companies and independent operators. The other three floors will be used to store rental vehicles.

"We sized it to be able to handle all the on-airport and off-airport guys," Lopano said. "We knew there was a lot of interest for the off-airport guys to come onto the airport and compete."

The advantage for the rental companies, airport officials said, is that the new facility allows them to consolidate their operations in one corner of the airport. They won't have to rent cars on one end of the airport and service them on the other end anymore.

"The rental car companies are very, very excited about the efficiencies this new building will give them," Lopano said.

Contact Jamal Thalji at [email protected] or (813) 226-3404. Follow @jthalji.

   
Comments
Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Tapping home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses like groceries and utilities is a recipe for financial peril. It can work for a while, especially if home prices are rising. Eventually the spigot runs dry, bills pile up and your home can be lost to...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

SEMINOLE — There were so many unusual aspects to the sale of a certain Seminole villa that it’s hard to know where to begin. Is it with the fact the villa sold for $100,000 despite a cash offer of $128,700? Is it that the buyer was a Realtor in the s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New restaurants: Olivia from Chris Ponte, Crabby Bill’s Off the Hook

New restaurants: Olivia from Chris Ponte, Crabby Bill’s Off the Hook

COMING SOON: OLIVIAChris Ponte, right, has been a steady and notable culinary leader in our area for more than a decade with his flagship restaurant Cafe Ponte in Clearwater. A couple of years ago he mixed things up a bit by debuting On Swann in Hyde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Updated: 1 hour ago
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

Associated PressFORT LAUDERDALE — Mike Jackson is stepping down after almost two decades leading AutoNation, the nation’s largest dealership chain. Jackson, 69, steered AutoNation through the economic crisis and shares have increased fourfold since h...
Updated: 3 hours ago
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

LAND O’ LAKES — A forest of pine and oak trees and an aging mobile home neighborhood could be replaced by luxury apartments and a pair of retail centers along State Road 54 west of Cypress Creek.In separate proposals, land owners and de...
Published: 09/19/18
These four people made Florida Trend’s list of the 500 most influential business leaders

These four people made Florida Trend’s list of the 500 most influential business leaders

The 180-page Florida 500 is a compelling read for anyone curious about how the state’s most influential business leaders rose to power.Florida Trend magazine undertook some heavy lifting to compile the 2018 roster. Sure, some of the 500 bios read lik...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

TREASURE ISLAND — For the first time during her 15 years bartending at Caddy’s on the Beach, Amanda Hudson had to help close shop early this past weekend because the smell of dead fish coming from the gulf was too putrid to bear."We had to shut down ...
Published: 09/18/18