Politics & Government

$518 million CLT airport lobby expansion plan approved. Here’s what happens next.

The Charlotte City Council Monday night agreed to spend more than $500 million to expand the lobby of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

With no discussion, the council approved nearly $518 million in contracts for the $600 million construction project the airport plans to start in December.

The airport expects that construction will be completed by the third quarter of 2025, according to city council documents.

The 175,000-square-foot expansion will include larger security checkpoints, additional ticketing and baggage claim areas, more lobby space, an outdoor canopy and two pedestrian walkways, according to the airport.

The expansion project also will renovate 191,000 square feet in the existing lobby.

The airport will build a 146,000-square-foot canopy over the upper roadway and two pedestrian walkways connecting the upper level roadway to the hourly parking deck, according to city council documents.

The lobby was built in 1982 to accommodate 2.8 million passengers a year, according to the airport. Last year, it saw 12.5 million passengers.

Other projects

This expansion is the latest of many construction projects in the airport’s “Destination CLT” program, a $2.5 to $3.1 billion renovation and expansion project.

On Wednesday, the airport opened five new arrival pick-up lanes to the public. The opening was part of a $50 million roadway expansion project that started construction in early 2016.

The roadway project added 10 new lanes to the airport’s existing six.

The three lanes closest to the terminal curb on the upper level will remain closed, as a storage area during terminal lobby expansion project. Once completed, those three upper lanes will be opened to shuttles and buses.

And in late September, city council approved a $4 million project to build a crown-style monument at the entrance of the airport, along with three secondary CLT signs.

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Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College.