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Two teams competing to build hotel at Atlanta airport

By Kelly Yamanouchi, Staff Writer

Airport hotel rendering in Hartsfield-Jackson’s RFP

Two teams are competing to build a hotel at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, along with an airport travel plaza and office space.

The hotel will be steps away from the domestic terminal of the world’s busiest airport, just outside the exit on the west side of the terminal.

One team including real estate firm Carter and Majestic Realty Co. and another led by real estate developer Regent Partners LLC each submitted proposals Wednesday for the massive project.

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The hotel, gas station/convenience store and mixed-use office development make up a project Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell calls an “Airport City.”

The airport hotel project would change the look of Hartsfield-Jackson and add new amenities for travelers and businesses. Airport officials have estimated the development could amount to as much as a $600 million investment by the winning firm.

That firm would get a 50-year lease for a total of 26.5 acres of land, including 10 acres for a hotel just outside the exit on the west end of the domestic terminal, 3.5 acres for a travel plaza and 13 acres for office space and mixed-use development, according to the airport’s request for proposals.

Once a winner is selected, the lease is finalized and the developer is given the go-ahead to proceed, the airport expects the hotel, travel plaza and Class A office space to be completed within two years of that date, according to airport documents.

The airport envisions a hotel with 250 to 300 “high-end” guest rooms, meeting space, a restaurant, upscale lobby bar and grille, laundry and dry cleaning services. The mixed-use development could include retail and commercial or residential development, in addition to Class A office space. The travel plaza would have a gas station, convenience store, restrooms, food and a seating area.

A total of three teams had been pre-qualified to compete for the project: the Carter team, the Regent Partners joint venture and Airmall USA.

Airmall did not submit a proposal. According to Airmall USA CEO Jaime Daly, Airmall’s parent company Fraport recently won a project to develop, construct and manage 14 airports in Greece. After deciding to dedicate all of its resources to that project, “We believe that we did not have enough resources to successfully complete both projects,” Daly said in an e-mail message.

Separately, airport workers who are members of labor union Unite Here attended city council committee meetings and held a rally at City Hall last month to raise issues with labor practices at Airmall concessions at Baltimore’s airport.

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