Mayor Mitch Landrieu, members of the New Orleans City Council and Aviation Board and leaders from surrounding parishes gathered in Concourse A at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport this morning to announce the “conceptual design” of a new terminal at the airport’s north end, just off Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Kenner.
The $828 million construction project should create 13,000 jobs, according to materials handed out by the mayor’s office, and is scheduled to be completed in May 2018 — not so coincidentally the date of New Orleans’ tricentennial celebration. Landrieu called the airport a “catalytic project” and compared its impact on the metro area to the construction of the Superdome in 1975. Funding for the airport consists of bonds, federal grants and Aviation Board Capital Funds.
“Loyola Avenue’s going to be completely changed,” Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni told Gambit
, “with a new interchange off the freeway … It’s going to totally change the face of Kenner.”
The existing southern terminal off Airline Highway, Yenni said, will not be demolished, but will convert to cargo and other uses.
“We just won the Super Bowl of airports,” said City Council president Jackie Clarkson.
(Under the jump: more images and video of the proposed airport)
The new terminal is planned to be 650,000 square feet, consisting of two concourses with 30 gates and a new 2,000-space parking facility. In addition to a new flyover off Interstate 10, plans for the development include a $72 million power plant and $17 million for a new airport hotel. District D Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, chair of the council’s airport board, pledged her support for local business and DBEs (disadvantaged business opportunities) during the construction and opening phases.
The design — presented at the press conference in both renderings and a short animated film — showed a graceful terminal shaped like two back-to-back boomerangs, with plenty of glass windows and a sweeping entrance for dropping off passengers. It was designed by architect Cesar Pelli, who in his youth collaborated with Eero Saarinen, architect of the 1960s-futuristic TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Others on the design team include Manning Architects, Crescent City Aviation Team and Leo A. Daly/Atkins.
“The future is now boarding,” said Landrieu — a slogan emblazoned on press materials and luggage tags handed out to attendees — though there was no word on when groundbreaking would begin.