Two years ago, plans were in work to modernize Concourse B at the Memphis International Airport. More than three years ago, Delta stopped using the airport as a hub for connecting flights to other destinations. The new model enabling travelers to fly direct to final destinations on smaller aircraft better meets the needs of most travelers. No longer is there a need to fly into a hub city on smaller aircraft, disembark, and change planes to reach a final destination. The airport is now seeing more flights, more revenue, and lower ticket prices than it has seen in years.
This brought up the need to modernize the 55-year-old Concourse B. Two years ago, the first version of the remodel emerged as an upgrade to the existing concourse. The basic structure would remain intact with some add-ons and major upgrades to the artificial lighting system.
However, a new vision has now emerged. It includes major new construction of the old structure to move away from the artificial lighting to include lighting that is more natural. According to Scott Brockman, MSCAA president and CEO, the vision will be quite different from the architectural renderings previously released, which added on to a lot of the existing infrastructure. “The new vision will reflect a little more newness — not as much of the existing facility will remain.”
The new vision is to create something even more open than the first concept, with more natural light, greater areas of openness, and higher ceilings over the moving walkways. Brockman is waiting to present the new vision to the public until he’s confident the costs are reasonable and rational.
The new parking garage at the airport is already bringing in an estimated $16 million annually. Now, in 2017, airport leaders say it's time for a new concourse. If the emerging plan stays on the tentative schedule, we should be looking at an opening sometime around 2020-2021. The plan calls for making Concourse B the main terminal. That means, while it is under construction, passengers will be using Concourse A and C to get to their flights.
The days of the narrow corridors, low ceilings, the lack of natural light will be gone. In its place will stand a building with a lot of natural glass, plenty of natural daylight, high ceilings, new amenities, power outlets everywhere, and moving walkways.
“The time has certainly not been wasted, it’s been invested in getting to a better product, a better project, and is certainly moving us towards a project that when completed will be a terminal concourse that this community can be extremely proud of,” Brockman said.
Moreover, MEM says it will not use a dime of local tax dollars to fund the construction project.
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Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for 10 years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. With the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.