The Chattanooga Airport Board on Friday unanimously approved the awarding of $25 million to Hoar Construction in order to design and build a new four-level parking garage for the airport. While the current lot can house around 500 vehicles, the proposed parking garage will almost double the amount of spaces available.
If all goes well, the project could be finished by next year.
“It’s going to take four to five months for design and to get the permitting.
From there, it’s approximately one year for construction,” said project leader Will Gaither. “If it were started right now, it would be finished in the summer of 2021.”
“The net total of spaces will be in the neighborhood of about 800. Now that is inclusive of the rental car parking spaces,” said Mr. Gaither. “But I believe the net overall public spaces will be just shy of 600 spaces. Even though we’re going to be building the garage over 400 or 500 spaces, when we open the garage, it’s a 1,300 stall garage, 300 of which are in the bottom level.”
While the company wishes to be as discreet as possible during construction, Mr. Gaither did admit that there would be some disruptions and inconveniences to travelers. However, he said the company would do everything possible to keep these to a minimum.
“Our intention is to minimize the impact to the current parking lot,” said Mr. Gaither. “Unfortunately, just the footprint of a large garage like that is going to take over a good portion of the parking stalls. But our plan minimizes impact to the number of stalls and keeps as many parking spaces open as possible during construction.”
Mr. Gaither stressed an “improved passenger experience” when coming up with a design for the parking garage. When asked about what that meant, he spoke about the ease with which travelers would be able to get from their cars to the airport.
“It’s going to be more convenient than it is right now,” said Mr. Gaither. “The design we’ve put in place minimizes your walking distance. It brings you to an elevator bank that will carry you from the level you parked on and straight down. And when you walk out of the elevator, you’re going to be directly across from baggage claim and the main terminal entrance.”
The design-build team also includes local architectural firm MBI Companies, American Structural Concrete, International Parking Design and Culp & Tanner Structural Engineers.
"We were very impressed by the amount of research and planning the team did to understand the parking needs of our travelers," said Terry Hart, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport. "We are confident they share our vision for our parking facility that will provide unparalleled convenience for the thousands of passengers who choose to fly in and out of Chattanooga each year."
"Our team very much appreciates this opportunity to design and build an innovative, functional and attractive parking solution for the Chattanooga Airport," said Mr. Gaither. "We are grateful to contribute to the Chattanooga Airport's growing success through this partnership."
The parking garage is one of multiple projects in direct response to unprecedented growth over the past years and projected to continue. In 2019, 554,050 passengers boarded flights at the Chattanooga Airport, resulting in a record-breaking 10 percent increase over 2018.
In addition to parking improvements, the airport is planning the largest expansion to the passenger terminal since its opening in 1991. Design of the expanded terminal is expected to begin in 2020.
Hoar Construction, established in 1940, is a leading national and local provider of construction management, general contracting, pre-construction, design/build and program management services. With a construction volume of approximately $1 billion, the firm provides services to institutional, healthcare, commercial, industrial, hospitality, and retail clients. Hoar Construction’s staff of 600 full-time employees work from offices in Nashville, Birmingham, Houston, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. and from project sites across the country.
MBI Companies Inc. (MBI), founded in 1990, is a full service architectural and engineering design firm. With more than 90 employees among offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Orlando, MBI maintains licensing in all 50 states. MBI has designed more than $6 billion in construction projects over the last 30 years counting among their clients City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County Schools, Erlanger, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Chattanooga State, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pilot Oil, HGTV/Scripps Network, Provision Healthcare, University of Tennessee Medical Center, as well as dozens of city and county governmental entities.