Skanska’s Largest Project Takes Flight

The $4 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport has reached a new milestone.

By Gail Kalinoski

LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment
LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment

New York—It is the largest public-private partnership in the United States and after some delays, the $4 billion redevelopment of New York’s LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B is finally taking off.

The final lease agreement and financing were closed this week between LaGuardia Gateway Partners and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and construction will begin immediately. LaGuardia Gateway Partners is a consortium of Vantage Airport Group, Skanska Infrastructure Development and Meridiam as project sponsors and co-investors with Vantage managing operations. Skanska and Walsh Construction form the design build joint venture with HOK and WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff advising on design. The PANYNJ gave its authorization for the 35-year lease with LGP in March, leading the way to this week’s closing on the final agreement and funding plan.

More than two-thirds of the project will be paid for by private financing and existing passenger fees. Financing includes the closing of $2.4 billion of bonds for the project. The tax exempt and taxable bonds were issued by the New York Transportation Development Corp., an affiliate of Empire State Development, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The governor’s office noted that the bonds were almost 10 times oversubscribed on average, “demonstrating strong interest by investors in the complete redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport.”

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement and imminent beginning of construction at the airport represent “a huge step forward in Governor (Andrew) Cuomo and the Port Authority’s vision to modernize LaGuardia Airport.”

The project includes a new 35-gate Terminal B, Central Hall, West Garage, related roadways and infrastructure. The existing terminal, which opened in 1964 and serves more than 14 million passengers annually, will operate during construction. Some new facilities will begin opening in 2018 with final completion of the project estimated for 2022. Among the new features will be duel pedestrian bridges that will span active taxi lanes–the first of its kind in the world–and connect the terminal to two island concourses. The development team said the islands and bridges design will improve airline circulation and gate flexibility to help reduce airport delays.

Inside the new terminal, there will be food, retail and beverage options to reflect regional and national offerings. The governor’s office said there will be more space for security check-ins to alleviate waiting times for passengers. The terminal will have more natural light at all levels, shorter curb-to-gate walking distances and more seating in the waiting areas. The new Central Hall will link to Delta Air Line’s Terminals C and D. Delta has announced plans for redevelopment of its terminals on a parallel track.

The redevelopment is Skanska’s largest project and biggest contract, according to Skanska CEO & President Johan Karlström. The Sweden-based firm said it had a 70 percent share of the contract, worth about $2.8 billion, which will be equally divided between Skanska USA Building and Skanska USA Civil. The company said it is a 33.3 percent shareholder in LGP and its equity investment will be approximately $70 million.

“Skanska is proud to invest in and lead construction of the redevelopment of the LaGuardia Central Terminal B with our team,” Skanska USA President & CEO Rich Cavallaro said in a prepared statement. “The new terminal is vital to the transportation needs of our country, the vibrancy of our economy and will serve a flying public that is growing dramatically.”