Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and airport officials broke ground Monday on a new $1.6 billion international terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport.

The 750,000-square-foot, five-story Midfield Satellite Concourse will be on the airfield near the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It will add 12 new gates – including two capable of handling mega jets such as the Airbus A380 and will feature 100,000 square feet of shops, dining, and lounge facilities. A companion 300,000-square-foot facility will feature an automated baggage system that will serve multiple terminals.

Construction of the terminal is expected to take two-and-a-half years, with a late 2019 opening target and is projected to create about 6,000 new jobs paying $300 million in wages. The construction team is comprised of a joint venture of Turner/PCL with design work from Corgan, Gensler, and gkkworks.

The new midfield concourse is one of the key pieces of the $14 billion LAX modernization effort now under way that includes upgrades to all the terminals.

“LAX means so much to L.A.’s economy - it’s an incredible job-creator that employs more than 50,000,” Garcetti said in a statement. “A record 47.3 million tourists visited our city last year - that’s why we’re investing billions to make it one of the premier airports in the world,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The midfield satellite concourse is a transformational project that will put thousands of people to work and help extend L.A.’s worldwide reach even further.”

Unlike the other seven terminals at LAX, this airfield concourse will not be accessible from the central horseshoe. Instead, it will be on the airfield side of the Tom Bradley International Terminal and connect to the Bradley Terminal with a 1,000-foot underground tunnel. Passengers connecting to or from other terminals would be transported to those terminals via buses. The 12 additional gates will reduce the airport’s current reliance on remote gates at the west end of the airfield.

Inside, the concourse will include 40,000 square feet of “L.A.-centric” retail, food and beverage stores. Passengers will be able to use more than 2,000 linear feet of moving walkways and 32 elevators and will have access to numerous flight information displays and kiosks. The roof will resemble an ocean wave and will allow for lots of natural lighting.

“Our passengers will soon experience LAX in a new and exciting way,” Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint said in a statement. “With our vision of delivering gold-standard airports, the Midfield Satellite Concourse will be built with sustainability principles and architectural features that reflect Los Angeles with great views and natural daylight. We will provide our guests a new concourse ready for the technology enhancements of tomorrow.”

Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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