This article was originally published on timesfreepress.com.
This story was updated at 5:40 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, with more information.
In Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport’s biggest-ever expansion project, officials on Friday approved a contract to build a $25 million garage to help the existing parking crunch and ready for the future.
The garage, the airport’s first, will hold 1,300 spaces for Lovell Field users on four levels. Work is slated to start in a couple of months with completion within an year, officials said.
A team led by Hoar Construction will design and build the parking garage, which also will hold all rental car activities at the airport as well as passenger vehicles.
Architectural firm MBI Companies along with American Structural Concrete, International Parking Design and Culp & Tanner Structural Engineers are part of the team.
“We were very impressed by the amount of research and planning the team did to understand the parking needs of our travelers,” said Terry Hart, president and CEO at the airport.
Hart said plans are to focus on minimizing disruption for travelers as the construction company works on the garage, which will go up adjacent to the passenger terminal.
“We are confident they share our vision for our parking facility that will provide unparalleled convenience for the thousands of passengers,” he said.
Will Gaither, project team leader with Hoar Construction, said the team is “grateful to contribute to the Chattanooga Airport’s growing success through this partnership.”
The garage is the most significant of several projects to deal with record growth in passenger traffic at the airport over the past six years.
In 2019, 554,050 passengers boarded flights at the airport, up 10% over 2018. That’s up from 309,235 boardings in 2013.
The garage will be financed by a pair of loans from Pinnacle Financial, said Hart. The loans will be repaid through rental car fees and from airport operations, he said. Rental car operations will be shifted to the deck’s first floor, Hart said.
Chattanooga architect Vance Travis of MBI Companies said the design of the parking garage will complement the passenger terminal and not overshadow it. He said that MBI and Hoar worked together on a recent large University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student housing project.
Airport Authority Chairman Dan Jacobson said the parking garage will mark a major milestone in overall growth at the airport.
Airport officials are planning the largest expansion to the passenger terminal since its opening in 1991. Design of the expanded terminal is expected to begin this year.
“This year will be one of the most significant for the airport,” Jacobson said.
Jim Hall, the Authority’s vice chairman, said the airport has grown because of convenience and hoped that the construction work wouldn’t get in the way of customers.
Gaither said the plan is to have minimal impact on airport operations.
Hoar Construction, established in 1940, has a staff of 600 full-time employees who work from offices in Nashville, Birmingham, Houston, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. MBI Companies has more than 90 employees in offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Orlando.
Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.