Newark Airport Upgrade Starts to Take Shape

As published on CoStar

Officials Say $2.7 Billion Terminal Expansion to Provide an Economic Boost

The construction of a $2.7 billion airline terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport, touted as a potential economic boon to the region, reached landmark stage with the final exterior steel beam placed atop its frame.

Terminal One, the new facility at the New Jersey airport, once completed will replace Terminal A, which officials say has long been outdated. It will be able accommodate an estimated 13.6 million passengers annually on three levels and will be 20% larger than the old terminal it's replacing. Terminal One is also slated to have improved retail and dining options compared to predecessor.

The new project will add 1 million square feet of space to the Newark airport, have 33 gates and feature what is called a "common-use layout." That means all its gates will be used by multiple carriers, which will increase flexibility and efficiency and optimize operations, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates and maintains the area's airports and seaports.

Terminal One is projected to generate more than $4.6 billion in regional economic activity, create more than 23,000 jobs, and provide more than $1.9 billion in wages, the Port Authority said in a statement.

The project is part of the bi-state agency's commitment of more than $30 billion in public and private funding to update the region’s three major airports and transform them "into true 21st century gateways." In addition to the construction of Newark airport's new terminal, the Port Authority is undertaking a complete redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport, whose first new concourse and gates are already open, and a comprehensive redevelopment of JFK International Airport, including two new major international terminals, with a groundbreaking expected later this year.

This week, the agency approved funding for various projects across the three airports, including plans to improve Newark Liberty’s rail link and build a new line to LaGuardia.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole were among the officials who gathered for a topping-out ceremony at the Terminal One site.

"A modern Newark Liberty International Airport is crucial to both the millions of passengers and tons of cargo that move through our state and to the economic vitality of our region," Murphy said in a statement. "Not only will Terminal One provide travelers with a fully functioning, 21st century air travel experience, additional investments in a modernized AirTrain and an all-new Terminal Two will make us more competitive on the world stage."

New Jersey Sen. President Steve Sweeney, a veteran iron worker, in a statement said the Terminal One development is creating construction jobs and "will also play an important role in support of New Jersey’s infrastructure, our shipping capacity and transportation logistics, which are so important to the state’s economy."

For this first phase of the project, there were nearly 300 on-site union workers a day, 33% of them iron workers. The framework construction of Terminal One included the use of 10 cranes and 16,200 tons of steel fabrication, according to the Port Authority.

Terminal One was designed and built by Tutor Perini-Parsons, with construction being done in phases. It is scheduled to partially open with 21 gates in 2021 and to be fully operational with an additional 12 gates by 2022. In July, the Port Authority reached an agreement with EWR Terminal One, a subsidiary of airport operator Munich Airport International, to oversee operations, maintenance and concession functions once the new terminal is complete.

Newark Liberty currently provides jobs for roughly 21,000 people directly employed at the airport. It contributes more than $27 billion in economic activity to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region and generates nearly 190,000 total jobs and more than $9 billion in annual wages, according to the Port Authority.

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