April 19, 2024

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Miami International Airport advances vast Central Terminal revamp

Written by on February 27, 2024


Miami International Airport advances vast Central Terminal revamp

Next steps in the $7 billion redevelopment plan for Miami International Airport (MIA) are underway this week, as the county pursues architectural and engineering services for Phase One of Central Terminal modernizations.

All of the projects are in anticipation of MIA reaching a projected 77 million travelers and 4 million tons of freight by the year 2040. MIA is also undergoing $1.7 billion in maintenance upgrades to its elevators, escalators, moving walkways, bathrooms, and passenger boarding bridges.

The project includes improvements within the Central Terminal and Concourses E and F, involving “demolition, renovations, and new building infill,” according to a legal ad that appeared in last week’s Miami Today. New building “infill” refers to the construction of a new building in the project target area.

This term is commonly used in urban planning and architecture when referring to the development of vacant or underutilized spaces within already-developed areas, rather than expanding outward into undeveloped land.

Central Terminal work will be partially financed by federal grants totaling $27 million, part of The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) award of more than $112.5 million to 10 Florida airports. The FAA announced last week that 2024 grants totaling almost $1 billion were going to 114 airports in 44 states and 3 territories.

US Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg toured ongoing construction at MIA’s Concourse E-H ticket counter last week after the grants were announced with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and MIA Director Ralph Cutié.

The ticket counter work is being funded by a $15 million 2023 FAA grant. MIA also received a $12 million FAA grant last year to rehabilitate its Concourse E automated people mover system.

Last week MIA broke ground for a new 2,240-space, seven-level parking garage. The $136 million garage, scheduled for completion in summer 2026, will be adjacent to MIA’s current Flamingo garage and will substantially increase parking availability for passengers and employees.

The Miami-Dade County Commission adopted the new capital improvement program for MIA in September 2021. The extensive redevelopment plan calls for spending up to $7 billion in airport-wide modernization over the next five to 15 years.

Projects in the redevelopment plan already completed include a new baggage handling system, a smoke evacuation system for concourse H, retail space for Montblanc, new flooring on concourses G and J, concourse E third level sterile corridor renovations, modernization of concourse H restrooms, and digital signs at D-60 gates.

A “sterile corridor” refers to a designated pathway within the airport that is secure and restricted to passengers who have already undergone security screening.

According to MIA’s Division Communications Director Greg Chin, phase one of the Central Terminal Redevelopment project, which includes concourses E and F, is scheduled for completion in 2031 at an estimated cost of $373 million.

This four-level expansion, Mr. Chin told Miami Today, includes the introduction of a post-security corridor that provides secure and sterile interconnectivity between Concourses E and F and increases the amount of post-security concessions areas.

Holding rooms will be added along the corridor/concessions to service two new gates. Additional office spaces on levels three and four and areas for future baggage handling system expansion also will be created.

Phase Two of the project, Mr. Chin said, is scheduled for completion in 2033 at an estimated cost of $372 million. This project includes renovations and improvements to the main terminal areas between Concourses E and F.

In order to accommodate the redevelopment within the existing split-level building, the existing ceiling and roof will be elevated to create the required ceiling heights to bring natural light into the center of the existing terminal, Mr. Chin added.

A new vertical circulation core with escalators and elevators will be introduced into the terminal footprint to facilitate passenger circulation from the existing third-level moving walkways that feed the nearby concourses and garages, he said.

Existing TSA checkpoints in Concourses E and F will be consolidated into a new centralized checkpoint, re-routing passenger circulation areas and increasing the square footage of post-security concession areas along with new support spaces and restroom cores, Mr. Chin said. New ticketing areas, supporting infrastructure, and baggage conveyor systems to service the new ticket counters are included.

The second level departure curbside façade will be renovated to provide “a maintainable elegant aesthetic, blending the appearance between the North Terminal and South Terminal,” he said.

Both projects include:

■A new sterile corridor between concourses E and F.

■A new “secured connection” between the concourses “geared towards improving the customer experience and enhance revenue generation.” A secured connection refers to a pathway or area that allows passengers to move between different parts of the terminal or between terminals while remaining within the secure, controlled area of the airport.

■New concession spaces between E and F. “Opportunities have been identified to include additional concessions to offer new concepts and diverse options,” according to the legal ad.

■Spaces for future “hold” rooms to organize passenger flow and “maximize commercial program exposure.” Airport holding rooms are areas where passengers wait to board flights.

■A passenger conveying system to support facility operations. This relates to passenger and freight elevators and escalators.

■Dedicated delivery point for goods and services to be included within the new infill building to serve four floors.

■Expansion of the Concourse F checkpoint.

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