Concessionaires snap up new space at Anchorage airport

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A new concourse under construction at Anchorage's international airport will nearly double the space for restaurants and shops, and airport officials say they expect to have most of it filled by the time it opens.

Concourse C, scheduled to open in June, will increase retail space at the domestic terminal to roughly 67,000 square feet, up from 34,000, said John Barsalou, the airport's leasing and property management chief.

Currently, all but 10,000 square feet has been spoken for and the airport will solicit more bids in the next month or so, Barsalou said.

The airport will be seeking businesses interested in opening a fitness center, a video arcade and a relaxation spa, among others, he said.

''We're expecting three or more bids by the end of the year,'' he said. ''My goal is to have it all filled by the time it opens.''

Funded with revenue bonds that will be repaid by airport tenants, the new $223 million concourse is the centerpiece of a broader $408 million airport-area improvement. The concourse was originally scheduled to be completed last summer.

Factors contributing to the delay include a flawed design, a decision to start construction before permits were in hand, an expansion of the project and security changes after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

With the end in sight, airport tenants are getting ready to move into new space. They will put the finishing touches on their stores and restaurants sometime this winter.

''What we're seeing is a commitment by the private sector to make investments in this very valuable asset in Anchorage,'' said airport director Mort Plumb. ''Not only will we serve the traveling public better, but we're also going to create some more jobs.''

The airport is an important economic engine for the city. A 2001 study by the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research found that it supplies more than 9,000 jobs and $367 million in payroll each year.

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