Last updated: 03:09 PM ET, Fri June 03 2016

Laguardia's $4 Billion Renovation Is About to Begin

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | June 03, 2016

Laguardia's $4 Billion Renovation Is About to Begin

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LaGuardia’s $4 billion renovation is about to officially get underway. On Wednesday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey formally closed a deal to finance the project with a group of private investors.

The Port Authority has secured $2.4 billion in financing from the deal. Most of the project will not be paid for with tax dollars. The money will come from private investors and from passenger fees. 

A public-private partnership

The project will be overseen by a consortium known as LaGuardia Gateway Partners. Gateway consists of a number of investors, including a construction firm called Skanska, airport operator Vantage Airport Group and the Meridiam investment group. 

According to Skanska, the deal includes all aspects of construction and operation of the terminal for the next 24 years. “The Public Private Partnership (PPP) includes finance, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B in New York City, USA, with a lease term through 2050. The agreement also includes construction work for supporting infrastructure and a new central entrance hall.”  

According to the Port Authority and New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, demolition will soon begin to make make way for the new buildings. Some of the airport’s parking lots will be the first targets for the wrecking ball.  

A new terminal

The renovations will center around a new central terminal building. According to the current timeline, construction of the new terminal will be completed sometime in 2021. However, some parts of the renovations will be complete as early as 2018. When the project is done, the new main terminal will be directly connected with the airport's other terminals. 

READ MORE: The Coolest Feature From Each of the World's Top 10 Airports

Artist renderings of the new terminal show an airy building with lots of natural light and pedestrian overpasses that will allow fliers to move between concourses easily. The use of such bridges and the island-like concourse layout is considered quite cutting edge since few airports have utilized such designs in the past. 

Some headaches for fliers during construction 

There will probably be some headaches for passengers using the aged airport during the project. Some inconveniences are already evident. One of the airport’s parking lots, Lot P3 near Terminal B, was closed on Wednesday. This means that the airport has 920 fewer parking spots. At the end of July, a larger  2,700-space lot nearer to the terminal will also be closed.  

LaGuardia Gateway Partners CEO Stewart Steeves has promised to make the construction process as smooth as possible for fliers and area residents. In a statement, he said, "We are committed to delivering this project on time and within budget, while keeping communities engaged and informed. We will build and operate a facility that New Yorkers can be proud of." 

Much needed upgrade

Starting the renovation has been a priority for Governor Cuomo and the Port Authority after LaGuardia received heavy criticism for being outdated and overcrowded. Vice President Joe Biden once quipped that LaGuardia looked as if it belonged in a “third-world country.” 

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