Sneak Preview – South Terminal Rehabilitation Program; Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA)
Dormant since 2008, the South Terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), is about to get a new lease on life. LoneStar Airport Holdings, LLC, with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), announced its plans to rehabilitate and operate the South Terminal. In a ceremony at the Terminal, Jeff Pearse, the CEO of LoneStar was joined by several members of the project team as he unveiled LoneStar’s vision and plans for the terminal.
The rehabilitation is a key element of a public-private partnership between the City of Austin – Department of Aviation and LoneStar Airport Holdings, LLC to lease and operate the South Terminal. Under the agreement, LoneStar Airport Holdings, LLC, plans to invest more than $12 million to rehabilitate the South Terminal and its supporting infrastructure and next spring, when the renovation is complete, will assume operational control of the facility. The renovated facility will provide much-needed additional passenger capacity at ABIA – where total annual passengers at the Barbara Jordan Terminal now exceeds 11.5 million passengers.
Last fall, Austin City Council authorized the Aviation Department to enter into a lease agreement with LoneStar’s parent company to plan, finance, construct and operate the South Terminal at ABIA and the agreement was finalized and signed in late March of this year.
“This is an innovative approach to airport terminal development,” said Emmett McCann, Managing Director of Oaktree. “In the US, public sector financing of terminals is the norm. In this case, private capital will fund the rehabilitation and when completed, the South Terminal at ABIA will be one of only a handful of privately operated airport terminal buildings in the nation.” He continued, “Public-private partnerships of this nature often allow cities to deliver infrastructure faster and at a lower cost than more traditional means and we are pleased to have partnered with the City of Austin on this pioneering project.”
“We thank Mayor Adler, Austin City Council and especially Jim Smith and his staff for their leadership in bringing the project to life,” added Brent Tasugi, Senior Vice President of Oaktree. “We are humbled and honored to be working with the City of Austin on this public-private partnership and we look forward to being a member of this vibrant community.”
When the renovations are complete, the South Terminal will be completely transformed. While the shell of the building will remain virtually all interior spaces will be renovated and refreshed. The 30,000 square-foot terminal will offer eight check-in counters, along with automated kiosks, a TSA checkpoint, checked-baggage screening equipment, a large passenger hold room and a baggage claim area. A variety of passenger services and amenities will also be offered. In all, three-aircraft parking positions/gates will be provided and the South Terminal will be capable of accommodating a combined total of up to 36 aircraft arrivals and departures per day.
A hallmark exterior design element will be a series of white canopies that will link the terminal to the three aircraft parking positions. The striking, up-lit canopies will provide passengers with protection from the elements as they move between the terminal and the aircraft.
“Ground-level aircraft boarding invokes the golden age of mid-century air travel – when passengers walked across the tarmac to board their flights,” said Jeff Pearse, CEO of LoneStar Airport Holdings, LLC. “That golden age became the basis for our interior design. Mid-century cues in furniture and finishes – utilizing textures and colors native to the Texas Hill Country will provide Austin travelers an airport experience as unique as our city,” he added.
LoneStar Airport Holdings, LLC has teamed with two world class firms to design and reconstruct the South Terminal. Fentress Architects of Denver, CO is designing the facility while Hunt Construction Group, An AECOM Company, will direct all aspects of the rehabilitation program. A number of local sub-contractors will carry-out a range of activities from demolition to fire suppression and LoneStar will continue to collaborate with the City of Austin’s Small & Minority Business Resources Department to ensure that minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises are afforded an opportunity to participate.
Oaktree is a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $97 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2016. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-orientate and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high-yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm has over 900 employees and offices in 18 cities worldwide. For additional information, please visit Oaktree’s website at www.oaktreecapital.com.