Hartsfield-Jackson plans airport office building, hotel next to terminal

This is a Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport rendering of $242 million aviation administration center to be built next to the terminal. There would also be space for a hotel. Source: Hartsfield-Jackson

Credit: Source: Hartsfield-Jackson

Credit: Source: Hartsfield-Jackson

This is a Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport rendering of $242 million aviation administration center to be built next to the terminal. There would also be space for a hotel. Source: Hartsfield-Jackson

Hartsfield-Jackson International plans to construct a new airport administration building and to try again at getting an airport hotel built next to the domestic terminal.

The land to be used for the administration building and the hotel is just west of the domestic terminal, beyond the taxicab pickup and terminal-to-terminal, hotel and shared-ride shuttle pickup area. The parcel used to be the west economy lot before it was cleared years ago for a hotel development.

But the original vision for a $350 million, 14-story, 541-room InterContinental or Hilton hotel and additional development next to the terminal failed to materialize, and was never built. That hotel project, which had been envisioned since 2014 under then-Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration, was delayed for years and finally canceled by the developer, Majestic Carter, last year.

Airport officials think there is still the possibility of a hotel, this time aiming for a mid-tier property with around 350 rooms — though they are still working with consultants.

“We learned from the last time,” when the project was plagued by an overambitious plan and problems with funding, said Hartsfield-Jackson General Manager Balram Bheodari. “There’s a lot of interest” from companies in a hotel project, he said.

A hotel has long been seen as a way to offer better service to travelers, including stranded passengers stuck after flight cancellations and business people flying in and out of Atlanta for quick meetings. It would also generate rent revenue for the airport.

In the next six months, airport officials plan to begin the process of pursuing a hotel development. That would start with a request for qualifications process, followed by a request for proposals contracting process for a ground lease and public-private partnership development.

Such a hotel could be built “within the next few years,” Bheodari said.

The hotel would sit next to the planned aviation administration center and parking deck. Plans are for the administration center development to be built by the second quarter of 2026 for $242 million in airport funds.

In the roughly 200,000-square-foot airport administration center, Bheodari said he plans to consolidate as many as 500-700 employees spread across different locations in the airport into the new building. Also planned for the building is a child daycare center and a new location for the Atlanta Police Department airport precinct currently in an aging space inside the domestic terminal.

Airport employees who work for the City of Atlanta’s Department of Aviation are currently spread across offices in the domestic terminal atrium upper levels; in the basement level of Terminal North where security, technology, operations and concessions employees work; and in the basement level of the west end of the terminal, where ground transportation employees and others work.

Once airport employees move out, those areas will be converted into revenue-generating space, Bheodari said. The offices can be leased to airlines, concessionaires and other businesses operating at the airport for back-office space, training centers and other uses.

The airport recently set up an Atlanta Fire Rescue Department triage center on the third floor of the domestic terminal atrium, for passengers with non-life-threatening issues to be treated at a clinic. They would then determine if they want to be transported to an Atlanta-area hospital or continue on, flying home or to their destination. A ribbon cutting is planned for the facility next week.

Separately, the Atlanta City Council on Wednesday approved legislation for the issuance of about $700 million in airport bonds, including about $148 million for refunding of existing bonds and additional funding for a massive project to widen Concourse D, a new parking deck, fire station and pavement replacement. Some of the bonds were “green bonds” for “environmentally sound and sustainable projects.”