The Houston Airport System (HAS) has revealed the anticipated groundbreaking on the new terminal at William P. Hobby Airport. It is slated for May, exactly one year after Southwest Airlines won a hard-fought battle against United Airlines for international service out of Houston's lesser airport.
At a Houston City Council committee meeting, HAS reported the plans for expansion of the terminal, a two-level, 280,000 square foot building that will include an additional ticket counter, six additional security lanes, five new arrival/departure gates (fitted for Boeing 737 and A318-320 aircraft) and a new Federal Inspections Services facility to accommodate 400 to 800 passengers.
Southwest consented to foot the $100 million bill for airport expansions in exchange for rent-free use of four of the five new gates.
As part of the agreement, Southwest consented in May 2012 to foot the $100 million bill for airport expansions in exchange for rent-free use of four of the five new gates, as well as the customs facilities, over the course of a 25-year lease. The reconciled project estimate has now been upped to $150 million.
Associated projects, which will be paid for by HAS, include a new 2,500-space parking garage, complete with a smart parking space locator system and a third-floor pedestrian bridge to the international terminal, as well as street modifications to square off the main entry road, elevate the roadway and extend the drop-off curb.
The former project is anticipated to cost $55 million and the latter $12 million — both will be funded by general airport revenues. Corgan Associates, Inc. has been selected as the designer for the project, and vertical construction is expected to begin in Sept. 2015.