Partnership Spotlight: St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport
If you’ve been to the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport recently, you know that there are major changes coming to the local airport. I sat down with the Airport Director, Tom Jewsbury, pictured to the left, to find out more about the new developments. He shared that the airport has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, experiencing a 188% increase in passengers from 2009 to 2018. They have had to reflect that growth in their infrastructure to accommodate the influx of passengers.
This infrastructure growth can be seen as you drive in to the parking lot, which is currently being expanded to accommodate their growth in travelers. The other construction that can be seen while driving in is due to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Gateway Express project that has required the airport to redefine the entrance. Walking inside, passengers might notice that Terminal A is currently not in use. This is due to the terminal renovation project that will improve the new home for the airport’s main airline, Allegiant, to operate out of. This updated terminal will have more seating and more room for concessions, just in time for their new Master Concessionaire: Hudson Group.
Foodies around St. Pete have been excited to hear the announcement of this concessionaire that is currently operating in airports around the country. They bring with them a mix of national and local flavors, including 3 Daughters Brewery, Mazzaro’s Italian Market, and the District Pub.
This master concessionaire isn’t just bringing great food to the airport; they will also be in charge of all retail concessions as well. Continuing their commitment to highlight the local flair in the airport, they will be selling the work of local artists at gift shops such as Market 361, which name references the 361 days of sunshine each year we are so blessed to experience in the Sunshine City. A rendering of the storefront can be found below.
The Hudson Group is scheduled to take over June 1st, so keep an eye out for some of your favorite food and art when flying out for your summer vacation!
The terminal renovation project will also include the addition of security lanes, which will allow travelers to get approved to proceed to their gates faster. Staying with the theme of quickness and efficiency, they are installing an inline bagging system that will fully automate the security process for checking in bags, being hands-free from the time its put on the conveyer belt until the time it is ready to be put on the cart to be loaded onto the airplane. The Customs area is also being expanded, allowing for 300 passengers per hour to be cleared to enter the country. The airport hopes this will prepare them for the addition of future international flights.
In the midst of all these improvements, travelers that regularly use St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport might fear the loss of the convenience found by using a smaller scale airport. Jewsbury wants those travelers to know there is nothing to fear; the airport is committed to upholding its slogan, “Tampa Bay The Easy Way”. All additions are intended to improve the experience and increase that ease of use, not complicate it for travelers who love the airport for its simplicity.
Jewsbury also shared that there could be another exciting future development at the St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport around the corner. There is currently an undeveloped parcel of land that sits east to the airfield that they hope to develop in the upcoming future.
This represents huge opportunity for the development community. Jewsbury shared his hopes for it to be used as a corporate headquarters, as he sees the large parcel as a great opportunity to bring well-paying jobs to the community. If you would like to have your voice heard about what the land could be used for, or learn about the environmental assessment of the land, please join them for their Environmental Assessment Public Workshop on June 17th at 6pm in the Feather Sound Country Club Sandpiper Room (2201 Feather Sound Drive, Clearwater, FL 33762).