Tri-Cities Airport remodel project might expand

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 27, 2014 

The Port of Pasco may be able to expand the Tri-Cities Airport terminal remodel project after scaling it back to reduce the cost.

Port of Pasco Executive Director Randy Hayden told port commissioners Thursday that the $43.7 million terminal remodel budget was conservative enough to make adding back eliminated portions possible.

Airport revenues have been better than projections, Hayden said. The port ended last year with a net operating cash flow of almost $1.9 million, said Linda O'Brien, the port's director of finance and administration.

The port is trying to use only airport revenue to pay for the work, which would almost double the size of the terminal.

The project includes moving the terminal's staircase and restrooms to the front of the building to open up the area near the security checkpoint. Security, ticketing and baggage areas also would be expanded. A new concourse beyond the security area will feature a view of the airfield, with gates to the right and left.

Bouten Construction Co. has assured port officials that $43.7 million will be the maximum cost the port will see for the remodel as it is currently designed, Hayden said.

That includes all the project costs, including construction, contractor's fees, architect and engineering fees, furniture and fixtures and contingencies, Hayden said. It also includes potential inflation in construction costs.

That cost and a contract for the construction of the remodel will be presented to the port commission April 10.

The estimated maximum allowable construction cost is $30.8 million, which would bring the total contract cost to about $33 million, according to port documents. The cost, if the contract is approved, would become contractual, so if the project cost more, Bouten Construction would pay for it, and if it cost less, the port would benefit.

Once subcontractor bids come in, Hayden said port commissioners could decide what alternates can be added back in. Commissioners also could decide to issue fewer bonds.

The port has a list of six alternates for the project totaling about $1.6 million.

Adding space to Gate 5 on the new concourse is at the top of the alternate list, and would cost about $773,000, according to port documents. Other alternates include renovating the second-floor restrooms and second-floor corridor, adding new inbound baggage equipment and short-term parking lot work.

Replacing the inbound baggage equipment would cost about $458,000, according to port documents. Ron Foraker, Tri-Cities Airport director, said that would replace the two 27-year-old carousels where passengers currently pick up their baggage.

Hayden said the carousels are good for at least another two to three years and possibly more with maintenance.

Not included in those alternates is a nearly $3 million outbound baggage system that would be used by the Transportation Security Administration.

Hayden said the remodel will build a shell for the new outbound baggage system. Since the equipment only benefits TSA, it's something the port feels should be funded by a TSA grant.

The port has applied for $3.8 million in grants for planning and to buy the equipment, Foraker said. It is possible a grant might be received in 2015 or 2016, but nothing is guaranteed.

Also Thursday:

-- The Port of Pasco only received a proposal from a company interested in running concessions at the Tri-Cities Airport.

While concessionaire Florentyna's and seafood chain Anthony's had expressed interest, only Tailwind, a concessionaire at 10 U.S. airports, submitted a proposal by the deadline, Foraker said. Port staff are reviewing the proposal, he said.

Port officials are asking the future concessionaire to make an investment of about $2.2 million to the planned restaurant and concessions space as part of the airport remodel.

Port officials said they are happy with concessionaire Florentyna's. The port is required to seek proposals when the ontract expires in February 2017.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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