VOL. 133 | NO. 182 | Thursday, September 13, 2018
Construction on Concourse B At Memphis International Underway
Special to The Daily News
Memphis International Airport officials launched a $245 million modernization of Concourse B Wednesday, Sept. 12, by shoveling ceremonial dirt in a soon-to-be-demolished section between gates B1 and B2.
“This is a big deal,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “This is going to be a transformative day for our airport.
“This is going to be knocked down, and in its place will be a building that will wow Memphis,” added Cooper.
The new concourse, with 25 gates and upgrades such as moving walkways, children’s play area, performance stage and lounge for patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is expected to take 30 months to build.
“It’s not going to be recognizable for those of us who've been used to the Memphis airport as it is,” Cooper said.
And that's a good thing, said tourism boosters and business leaders.
It’s the city’s first and last impression on many tourists, 12 million of whom visited the city last year, said Kevin Kane, president of Memphis Tourism. “We can do better,” said Kane.
Phil Trenary, Greater Memphis Chamber president, added, “We bring folks in here all the time to see Memphis, and this is the first impression they see.”
The updated concourse should “make all the difference” in attracting new flights to Memphis International, Trenary added, and better air service will help attract more business investment in the city.
Airport Authority board members and president and chief executive officer Scott Brockman marked the occasion by taking up shovels adorned with the airport’s logo and scooping dirt out of a rectangular box in the middle of the closed concourse.
Next up, prime contractor Flintco will begin work on razing sections of the concourse that won’t be needed in the new version. The principal construction area will be from security checkpoint B south to the Concourse B rotunda and to the southeast leg of the Y-shaped concourse.
Concourse B has been closed since April, except for an international arrival area on the southwest leg of the Y. All flights have been repositioned on concourses A and C for the duration of construction.
When completed in 2021, Concourse B will serve all the airport's arriving and departing passengers and provide capacity to increase current passenger volume by 50 percent.