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Front Page » Top Stories » Private Developer Could End Up Revamping Miami International Airports Central Terminal

Private Developer Could End Up Revamping Miami International Airports Central Terminal

Written by on July 9, 2009

By Risa Polansky
Miami International Airport’s 1950s-era central terminal could be redeveloped by a private developer — making possible a $2 billion overhaul that Miami-Dade Aviation wants but can’t afford.

Through 2041, the department will be paying down about $5 billion in outstanding bonds on $6.2 billion in capital improvements that encompass new north and south terminals.

"The debt that we’re talking about does not include the redevelopment and construction of a new central terminal… We have to come up with some way of funding those facilities," said Miguel Southwell, aviation deputy director for business retention and development.

The solution could be a public-private partnership, where a concessionaire might redevelop the terminal in exchange for a long-term concession agreement.

Officials are exploring the idea, he said, and are to meet with industry players July 23.

The 50-year-old central terminal — flanked by shiny, new terminals — needs major upgrades, Mr. Southwell said.

But a new terminal would cost more than $2 billion, County Manager George Burgess estimates in a memo to commissioners.

The aviation department wouldn’t have the money to do it for 25 years, he wrote.

The private-partnership alternative would entail a developer financing, designing and constructing new facilities in return for a concessions deal, the memo says.

"Capitalizing on the major shopping destination that Miami has become for patrons from Latin America and the Caribbean, this central terminal concession program would more resemble that of a shopping mall experience…"

Should commissioners agree, the county could seek bids by the first quarter of 2011. Advertisement