Long Beach Airport (IATA code LGB) is set to open a new, much modernized and roomier passenger concourse on December 12 as it nears completion of a $145 million program to improve its car parking, terminal and aircraft ramp facilities.
According to LGB, which regards itself as purely a regional origin and destination airport rather than a hub, the $145 million renovation and modernization program is one of the largest to be carried out at any regional airport in the U.S.
The design of LGB’s new passenger concourse (which has cost $45 million) is based on the perception that “the ticket counter is going the way of the dinosaur”, as Mario Rodriguez, director of Long Beach Airport, puts it.
LGB has designed the approach areas to its new passenger concourse so that departing passengers will not need to go through the airport’s existing terminal building to reach the new, consolidated security checkpoint which is the gateway to the new concourse.
Instead they will approach the checkpoint through either of two garden courts, one on each side of LGB’s 1941-vintage main terminal building. (The airport’s $140 million improvement program includes $2 million for restoration of the main terminal, a registered City Historical Landmark, to its original 1940s condition while maintaining its modern functionality. The terminal-restoration project is scheduled for completion this fall.)
Each garden court holds local retail concessions – the only national concession in the airport is a CNBC shop – and an extensive array of exhibits highlighting LGB’s history, as well as a variety of native plant life.
In the garden courts, passengers can buy fresh food from self-serve islands. The garden courts will also feature 4,200 square feet of outdoor seating with patios, fire pits, cabanas, suspended lights and space for outdoor performances.
Among the local businesses present in the garden courts are Polly’s Coffee and Sweet Jill’s Bakery, each with two food stations.
The design of the garden courts and the concourse itself aims to give passengers the same kind of relaxed, informal feeling they would get in a boutique resort hotel. “We copied a resort hotel,” says Rodriguez.
Departing passengers will pass through the new passenger-screening checkpoint, which takes up 6,500 square feet of existing area within the terminal, into the new passenger concourse itself. The concourse has its own, sizable interior garden area and also an atrium.
The concourse includes 26,000 square feet of new hold-rooms and contains improved restrooms and more than 8,000 square feet of new concession space, dominated by local businesses. All are guaranteed to offer the same “street” pricing the same companies offer in their establishments in downtown Long Beach, says Rodriguez.
Among the local concessions in the new LGB passenger concourse is an upmarket, linen-tablecloth restaurant called McKenna’s on the Fly, a variation on the well-known McKenna’s on the Bay on the sea front at Long Beach.
Located at the edge of the passenger concourse’s interior garden is Long Beach Marché, a high-end food court modeled like an open market in which three local restaurant businesses will serve up local food and beverages.
These restaurants include 4th Street Vine, a bar which will offer very-limited production local wines and beers; George’s Greek Deli; and Taco Beach. All three of these businesses are “very Long Beach-centric”, says Rodriguez. Also in the new terminal is a local burger bar.