Houston Airports Undergoes Major Development with Visionary Improvement Programs and Terminal Redevelopment

Houston Airports Undergoes Major Development with Visionary Improvement Programs and Terminal Redevelopment

HOUSTON, TX, 2023-Feb-02 — /Travel PR News/ — Houston Airports continues to undergo major development and monumental infrastructure growth through its visionary improvement programs.

On Jan. 18, Houston Airports Director Mario Diaz and other key individuals made two presentations to the Houston City Council’s Economic Development Committee.

Diaz was joined by Cherie Matthew, Project Manager and Senior Architect at Jacobs, who discussed the development of a Land Use Plan that will provide a guide for future growth and development at the Houston Spaceport.

In the second part of the meeting, Diaz teamed with Steven Andersen, Principal Executive Program Manager, to discuss the excellent progress of the IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program (the ITRP) at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The EDC, a six-person committee chaired by Martha Castex-Tatum, Houston City Councilmember, District K, reviews matters related to economic development, domestic and international trade, business and job creation, and aviation.

Houston Spaceport Land Use Plan 

Diaz started off the two-pronged event with a recap of the chronology of the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport, one of 14 FAA-Licensed spaceport sites in the United States, and the first located near a major metropolitan area. The spaceport’s mission is to create a focal point for aerospace innovation with a collection of aerospace companies that will lead the U.S. in a transition from a government-driven to a commercially driven space program.

Over a nine-month period, Diaz, Arturo Machuca (General Manager at Ellington and the Houston Spaceport), Geovanny Osorio (Houston Airports Infrastructure, Chief Architect / Interim AD of Design) and other HAS representatives worked with Matthew and the Jacobs team to develop a Land Use Plan that reflects the vision and provides an exciting guide for future growth and development of the Houston Spaceport.

In 2018 HAS initiated the development of the 434-acre site based on the 2015 concept plan and hired a design consultant to develop Phase I – Infrastructure improvements at the site,  encompassing approximately 119 acres.

Currently, the spaceport has leased land to three major tenants that are in different stages of construction, and one tenant is already in operation. The tenants currently on site are Axiom Space, Intuitive Machines, and Collins Aerospace.

Phase I development is well underway: 

  • Axiom Space facility is scheduled to be completed in May 2023.
  • Intuitive Machines’ facility is scheduled to be completed in September 2023.
  • Collins Aerospace facility was completed in July 2022 and is now fully occupied and operational.

HAS recently completed the development of the Design Standards and Land Use Plan for the Houston Spaceport which shows the grand vision of full development of the 434-acre site and provides a baseline for future development of the Spaceport Campus.

The Land Use Plan shows land development by the three current tenants and adjacent land parcels to allow expansion options if they choose to exercise those options.

Additionally, land parcel allocations are included for manufacturing/assembly facilities, office/lab facilities, retail, hotel, education and training facilities, parking, and a transportation hub that will serve as the main connector between the Spaceport, the community, and the Houston Metropolitan Area.

Spaces are allotted for site drainage and detention, utilities, public art, and a network or campus roads that address vehicular and pedestrian movements through the campus, as well as address allocation of all necessary utilities needed to fully develop the campus with all necessary amenities.

Subsequent phases of Land Use Plan development which will include campus infrastructure extension, design and construction of roads as well as site utilities (water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, gas, electrical, and IT/communications infrastructure) are currently being considered and will be developed at the direction of Diaz and Senior HAS Executive Staff.

IAH Terminal Redevelopment Plan Update 

Diaz and Andersen then provided an update on the fast-moving ITRP to the EDC.

Diaz said that the program has made “dramatic and significant progress…as we start moving toward the end of the line on many of these and the final configuration, final products that will be produced.”

Andersen recapped the program in its entirety, including a scope overview, past and future milestones, and a description of several key enabling projects.

He declared that the best-in-class ITRP will soon be “open for business” and will create a fundamentally different, better travel experience for Houston Airports’ guests, from modernized facilities to extensive new concessions. He enumerated several ongoing efforts that are heading toward completion:

International Terminal D Complex Summer 2023 Completion 

  • All new finishes and fixtures
  • New flooring, LED lighting and ceiling tiles
  • New furniture, seating and gate counters

New International Concourse and Gates Winter 2023 Completion 

  • Designed to LEED Silver equivalency
  • New furniture, seating and gate counters
  • Bright and airy spaces filled with high-quality art

New International Central Processor Winter 2024 Completion 

  • Designed to LEED silver equivalency
  • New state-of-the-art ticketing hall and self-service technologies
  • 17-lane screening lane checkpoint
  • Video Oculus feature
  • New open-concept ticketing and arrivals level halls

Each of the above projects includes state-of-the-art air filtration.

Enabling Projects 

One key enabling project was the Radio Intermediate Distribution Frame (RIDF) tower on the airport campus that serves as an emergency response backup for Harris County. Andersen praised the collaborative efforts of federal and local agencies as well as Houston Airports construction partners in creating the tower that supports more than 25,000 radio subscribers and provides about 1,700 square miles of radio coverage for mission-critical first responders.

“It is a really impressive piece of work that opened in February of this year,” Andersen said. “It came in at $800,000 under budget,” he added, “The project is a true testament to the team and the outstanding collaboration and professionalism.”

Another key enabling project is the IAH Regional Detention Pond which works in coordination with the Houston Airports regional detention system. The pond has a capacity of about 50 acre-feet (enough water to cover 50 acres in 1-foot-deep water) and will capture water from the bayou, detaining it for a slower rate of release, providing additional flood protection for the surrounding area. The detention pond was designed in conjunction with the Harris County Flood Control District.

Andersen also talked about the ongoing Enabling Utilities Landside Water Project, IAH New Pump Station #3, which encompasses three elements: 

  • replacement of old water mains within the Central Terminal Area (CTA)
  • the installation of two 1.2-million-gallon tanks and a pumping station
  • shut-off control valves throughout the CTA

“This project will make a substantial difference to the airport in terms of resiliency and replacing aged assets.”

The construction of the international terminal advanced significantly in 2020 with the closing of the Terminal D/E parking garage for demolition in order to make room for the expansion of the Mickey Leland International Terminal (MLIT) with a new International Central Processor.

Once complete, the International Central Processor will house ticketing counters, baggage claims and a 17-lane security checkpoint that will be one of the largest in the country. Attached to MLIT will be a new concourse and a fully renovated Terminal D, with updated facilities where travelers can board their planes, relax in the many lounges, or explore dining vendors. ITRP also includes the building of a new D West Concourse space that houses 10 new narrow-body gates. It will accommodate up to 6 wide-body aircraft simultaneously.

Due to be substantially completed in late 2024, ITRP will accommodate international airline growth, resolve current and future roadway and curbside capacity constraints and vastly improve the baggage handling system.

Diaz concluded by discussing future programs and projects at Bush and Hobby airports, including various ventures with United Airlines, sky train and subway projects at Bush Airport, a 50 to 75-megawatt solar farm array at Bush Airport, a 7-gate expansion at Hobby Airport, and much more.

The next EDC meeting will be held on Feb. 15.

Source: Houston Airports