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Tampa International Airport sets stage for another $304 million in construction

Tampa International Airport plans to expand the red and blue side curbside drop off zones at the main terminal to accommodate growth in passenger traffic. This rendering shows the west side of the red curb after the expansion. Rendering courtesy Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport plans to expand the red and blue side curbside drop off zones at the main terminal to accommodate growth in passenger traffic. This rendering shows the west side of the red curb after the expansion. Rendering courtesy Tampa International Airport
Published Mar. 1, 2018

TAMPA — Construction on $971 million in upgrades at Tampa International Airport is all but done, so the airport moved Thursday to set the stage for a major piece of the next phase of its ambitious expansion program.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority voted to negotiate a contract for a $184 million expansion of curbside operations at the main terminal, plus a $120 million project to move the airport's central energy plant to accommodate the curbside expansion.

"This is one of our signature piece projects" for phase two of the airport's $2 billion master plan, airport vice president of planning and development Jeff Siddle told the authority's board.

With the board's vote, airport officials will negotiate a design contract with Hensel Phelps Construction, the highest ranked of the four firms that bid on the work. That design contract is expected in June, with a construction contract anticipated in the fall of 2019.

If negotiations with Hensel Phelps don't pan out, the airport will negotiate with the next highest ranked contractor, Clark Construction Group, followed by Suffolk Construction and Kiewit Infrastructure South.

Within five years, the airport expects to see an estimated 24 million passengers a year, up from 19.6 million last year. To accommodate that growth, the airport has put together a three-phase plan, starting with the construction of a new rental car center that's connected to the main terminal by the 1.4-mile SkyConnect electric train.

PHASE ONE: Tampa International's billion-dollar update creates a new airport experience

Together, the curbside expansion and central energy plant projects will make up the bulk of the $544 million in the second phase of the overall program. The other big phase of the second piece is the construction of an office building, hotel and retail space on 17 acres next to the airport's new rental car center. Airport officials short-listed three bidders for the 9-story office building last month, and a top-ranked firm could emerge by September.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Big office project in the pipeline at Tampa International Airport

"When we think about the growth of the Tampa Bay region and the companies that are moving into the West Shore business district, like Amgen, that travel all over the world, we think that this unique facility and its connection to the SkyConnect system is going to attract new types of businesses that are going to want to travel all over the world," airport executive vice president for marketing and communications Chris Minner told the board.

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Contact Richard Danielson at or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times


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