TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority on Thursday hired VanTrust Real Estate to build a 9-story office building that will be the first of several new commercial projects to be linked to Tampa International Airport's main terminal by the SkyConnect train.
An elevated walkway will connect the office building's atrium to the SkyConnect train station, which serves the airport's 1-year-old rental car center next door. The building will include a 1,291-space parking garage, a conference center, fitness center and café. Outside, multipurpose trails will be connected in the future to trails outside the airport's property.
Construction on the 271,500-square-foot office building is expected to start later this year and be complete in 2021.
"This will be a Class A office building in an excellent location with unrivaled access to Tampa International Airport," airport executive vice president of marketing and communications Chris Minner said in an announcement of the contract. "With easy connectivity to the airport, downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, this is really the ideal location for a wide range of companies."
The office building will be the first project in the airport's planned SkyCenter commercial development. Plans also include two hotels, shops, a convenience store and gas stations.
VanTrust, which is based in Kansas City and has an office in Jacksonville, won the contract over four other development groups that submitted project proposals to the airport in late 2017. Under the lease approved Thursday, VanTrust will build and operate the office building until the aviation authority buys it, which is expected to take place within seven years for an anticipated $110 million.
In the meantime, VanTrust will lease the land from the aviation authority for about $453,000 a year, with rent going up 2 percent per year. Also, the aviation authority will move its administrative offices to three floors in the new building at a rent of $43.09 per square foot. Moving those offices out of the terminal will allow the airport to expand its curbside dropoff area with express lanes for passengers who don't check bags.
The office building and expanded curbsides are in the second phase of a $2 billion master plan for expansion so that Tampa International, which saw a record 21 million passengers last year, will be able to handle an anticipated 34 million passengers in the future.
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VanTrust has hired HOK to design the office building and J.E. Dunn to build it. Airport officials said the building's walls, windows and systems have been upgraded with backup lines for power, data and other utilities so severe weather won't interrupt the aviation authority's operations.
While the airport isn't paying to build the office building, it has said it would cover the costs of preparing the 17-acre site for development ($13.5 million), building the atrium and pedestrian bridge ($53.6 million) and building out its own facilities on the three floors it leases ($42.5 million).
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Contact Richard Danielson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times