Air travelers passing through Tampa International Airport (TIA) will discover some significant changes the next time they arrive, as a major component of the Skanska-built transfer concourse opened to the public on Friday, July 22. When complete, Skanska’s $130 million portion of TIA’s largest expansion ever will include 65 new retail, dining and beverage locations.
“It’s all aimed at making the traveler experience more pleasant and more convenient,” says Danny Valentine, Communications Manager at TIA. “Increased seating and more electrical charging stations were critical – as well as offering places to eat, drink and shop.”
Spanning approximately 18 months, more than 300 Skanska workers have worked on the expansion to date.
“From the start of the project, it was evident that the two most important missions for the owner were the safety of the patrons and workers, and the patrons travel experience so they can maintain the airport’s award-winning customer service ratings. So we knew we had to be safe and invisible,” said Roger Stephan, Senior Vice President on the project. “We continue to work with the TIA staff to enhance our phasing plan and signage to be as invisible as possible, working night shifts to minimize and almost eliminate all noise activities so travelers wouldn’t notice the ongoing construction. Directional signage remains paramount to make sure passengers get where they need to be as fast as possible.”
“Working with Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (HCAA) to bring this first big main terminal reveal has taken a tremendous effort from everyone and should generate even more excitement as the rest of the program evolves,” said Denise Muth, Project Executive for Skanska USA. “We’re very proud to be part of this historic project with HCAA and look forward to more exciting unveilings as the work continues.”
Crews unveiled the east side of the expansion, including two new restaurants, glass curtain walls and new, more modern finishes. The space will invite more natural light into the space and expand the footprint that made the new amenities possible. And the airport took the opportunity to bring a little bit of Tampa to everyone who passes through.
“We wanted to bring a local feel to every one of our air travelers, so we incorporated local food and beverage options,” says Valentine. “Gasparilla’s is named after a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida. Every year Tampa has a festival named after him. Our bar is even shaped like a pirate ship.”
The expansion is also serving a critical need to simply expand the footprint of the airport, which has seen its usage swell in recent years. “Passenger decongestion was a primary goal of this project as well as providing a more comfortable and user-friendly atmosphere. And it’s the first time we’ll have pre-security, outdoor dining options where you can watch the planes taking off and landing. Along with the Florida climate we expect it to be quite beautiful.”
Above: Time lapse video of Skanska-built East Side Expansion at Tampa International Airport.
View shows the construction of one of two glass curtain-walled dining and shopping concourses that opened on July 22, 2016. Courtesy: Tampa International Airport.