Airport awards key contract for planned concessions overhaul

The Indianapolis International Airport has awarded a key engineering contract for its planned concessions overhaul, though it will still be several months before the new lineup of shops and restaurants is announced.

Forty of the 53 retail concessionaires at the airport will see their leases expire Dec. 31. Airport officials are taking this as an opportunity to revamp their concessions offerings, with an emphasis on increasing the number of local concessionaires.

On Friday, the Indianapolis Airport Authority awarded a $168,449 contract to Indianapolis-based Heapy Engineering, which will design “white box” spaces for new tenants to fill after existing tenants move out.

Board member Mamon Powers III, who is heading the concessions refresh committee, said Heapy’s work will take place through the end of 2021. Extending the project over several years will allow the airport to turn over retail spots gradually rather than all at once.

“We don’t want to affect customers,” Powers said.

Once existing retailers’ leases expire, Powers said, they will continue to operate under short-term lease extensions until the new slate of concessionaires is selected.

The airport solicited concessionaires earlier this year by issuing a request for information, and those bids were due July 20.

Respondents could submit bids for 14 different concessions packages. Packages include between one and nine retail spots, and each package gives guidance about what the airport wants to see in each space—a local coffee shop, for instance, a massage/spa operator or a national-brand burger spot.

The airport says it received 16 proposals, but it is not sharing information about those proposals until bids are awarded.

Powers said bid recommendations should be ready to present to the airport authority board in January.

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