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Proposals trickle in for replacing LaGuardia Central Terminal

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey says it has attracted 15 proposals to completely renovate LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal.
TimesLedger Newspapers

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) hailed news that the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey received proposals from 15 private firms interested in replacing the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in East Elmhurst.

“I think it’s great,” the congressman said. “I think it’s healthy and I think it gives the Port Authority some options in terms of who to choose.”

The Port Authority is planning to redevelop the airport’s Central Terminal building. This terminal, which opened in 1964, currently hosts flights from 10 different airlines and encompasses half of the airport’s 72 gates. The authority said the current building is outdated — it was designed to handle 8 million passengers a year and now has served nearly 13 million a year since 2006 — and the agency is planning to create a new 1.3 million-square-foot terminal for $3.6 billion.

“We’re excited to modernize LaGuardia Airport’s main passenger terminal, and it’s great to see our enthusiasm shared by so many others,” said Susan Baer, the Port Authority’s aviation director, in a statement.

The terminal will cost $2.4 billion and the remaining $1.2 billion is for associated infrastructure.

While the Port Authority did not release the names of the bidders who submitted proposals, the agency said they ranged from “investors, entities specializing in airport construction and development, facility operations and management firms and concession developers.”

The agency also said almost half of the firms operate internationally.

The Port Authority’s plans to replace the Central Terminal complements a deal being worked out for Delta Airlines to take over and refurbish Terminal C at the airport, currently operated by US Airways, in exchange for giving up some of its slots at Ronald Regan Washington National Airport in D.C. to US Airways. The plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and is being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Delta’s renovation, which is expected to cost $117 million, will connect Terminal C to Delta’s Terminal D and create a new Sky Club in Terminal C.

The US Airways Terminal at LaGuardia was named the seventh worst in the world recently by Frommer’s Travel Guides.

Crowley said he had previously complained about the men’s bathrooms in Terminal C. He said the renovations of both the Central Terminal and Terminal C would begin a renaissance of the airport.

“It’s going to put a much better face forward as far as Queens is concerned,” Crowley said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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