SAC Reflects Its Place

Dec. 23, 2011

According to the Sacramento Bee, thousands of people toured the new Central Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport (SAC) in October and “oohed and aahed at the open house.”

“The $1 billion glass-and-steel terminal ... doubles as both art gallery and a gateway to the capital. At center stage is Lawrence Argent’s 56-foot-long red rabbit sculpture. It’s one of a dozen pieces of airport art that make up the biggest public art project in Sacramento history,” says the newspaper account.

Donna Scranton, manager of business and property development at SAC, relates that Terminal B, which connects with A by way of a short transit, was built for growth. “This project has put Sacramento in an excellent place to grow into the future. The way we designed the terminal allows for expansion in the future with smaller investments,” she explains.

“Overall the goal of the program and the whole new terminal was to encourage competition and create a sense of place related to the Sacramento region. So you’ll find a mix of local, regional, and national brands, particularly with the restaurants. We have several local brands with the retail as well.

“We want passengers when they get off their airplane to know they’re in Sacramento. This is the gateway to Northern California; we have strong agricultural regions; a great wine region, out to the Napa/Sonoma area; the gateway to the Sierras; and we’re the capital of California. One of the restaurants in the terminal, the Esquire Grill — its downtown location is right near the capitol and it’s where a lot of the politicians go for lunch.”

It was a two-year process from RFPs to awards for food and beverage and retail concessions. Terms are seven years for retail; five years for kiosks; and ten years for food and beverage. “Restaurants have a higher build-out than the retail,” Scranton points out.

That process include a local outreach to encourage participation by companies from the region. The “well-attended” meetings were promoted through Chambers of Commerce; a local restaurant association; and other business groups. “We cast a wide net,” says Scranton. “They were very well attended. All of the locals partnered with major concessionaires.”

Major concessionaires at Sacramento International include the Paradies Shops; HMS Host; Pacific Gateway Concessions, Incorporated; and SSP America.

Regarding lessons learned for others, Scranton comments, “The timeline for construction — there were some challenges there that may not have been anticipated. The lesson is, the more advance timing ahead of opening day the better.”

Scranton describes initial revenues in the new facility as “excellent; very strong.”