Gresham, Smith and Partners announces the completion of the new Rental Car Center and SkyConnect Automated People Mover (APM) at Tampa International Airport (TPA), a cornerstone of TPA’s master plan improvements. The SkyConnect system includes 1.4 miles of guideway, which connects the Main Terminal to the brand-new, 2.6-million-square-foot Rental Car Center, as well as the GS&P-designed Economy Parking Garage. The SkyConnect people mover system and Rental Car Center will open to the public on February 14.
“The completion of SkyConnect and the Rental Car Center is a critical part of the overall modernization at Tampa International Airport. We are committed to improving the passenger experience, and the new SkyConnect and Rental Car Center provide a high level of service in new bright and spacious facilities,” said Al Illustrato, executive vice president of facilities and administration, Tampa International Airport. “Now we have improved connectivity with world-class facilities, and passengers can enjoy a short ride on the new SkyConnect system between the Rental Car Center and the main terminal, with a stop at the Economy Parking Garage.”
The new Rental Car Center replaces outdated and undersized facilities, which have contributed to vehicular congestion at the Main Terminal as passenger traffic has steadily grown to record levels. The SkyConnect system will result in an estimated 2.7 million fewer vehicle miles traveled on airport roadways per year, which will reduce annual carbon emissions by approximately 1,600 tons.
“The new Rental Car Center will provide numerous benefits, including allowing space for more on-site rental car companies, which in turn will offer more choice and varied price points for passengers,” commented Grant J. Clifford, RIBA, LEED AP, senior vice president, Gresham, Smith and Partners. “In addition to reducing pollution, SkyConnect will minimize the amount of time needed to travel between the Rental Car Center and the Main Terminal, making the journey virtually hassle-free. It will also greatly reduce travel time from Economy Parking and replace the current shuttle bus operation. By reducing congestion at the terminal, we are able to improve the experience for all passengers.”
One of the largest projects in the history of the Tampa Bay Region, this multidisciplinary effort comprised more than four dozen GS&P team members from several divisions working together across five different GS&P office locations. The size and complexity of the design-build project also required exceptional collaboration between Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, general contractor Austin Commercial, L.P. and GS&P. The ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication for the SkyConnect and Rental Car Center was held on February 8, performed by Florida Governor Rick Scott. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board members were in attendance.