New $9.5M Marco Island airport terminal to open in September following delays; 85% completed

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported the wrong year for the start of new construction at the airport and incorrectly reported the airport's gross revenues for fiscal 2017-18 and fiscal 2018-19. It has since been corrected.

A new $9.5 million terminal at the Marco Island Executive Airport will open in September after months of delays, according to Collier County's Airport Authority manager Justin Lobb.

"We are just experiencing issues with the contractor keeping the project on schedule and just overall coordination," Lobb said Monday.

The construction of the terminal began in April 2018, and it was originally scheduled to open last summer, according to Lobb.

The company in charge of the project, West Construction, may face penalties of $3,645 for each day the project is delayed beyond the "substantial completion date," according to Lobb. The alleged damages are being assessed and may result in the county paying less for the terminal.

Other factors that have delayed the construction of the terminal are bad weather and the COVID-19 pandemic, Lobb said.

"We’ve granted 11 additional days due to weather/precipitation that has exceeded the seasonal average," a county spokeswoman wrote in an email Wednesday.

"(The delay) hasn't had an impact in our airport operations," Lobb said. "Traffic is actually up quite substantially and the safety of the airport hasn't been compromised as a result."

The building, which is 85% completed, will allow the airport to follow current Federal Aviation Administration regulations by replacing the current terminal, which is located at an unsafe distance from the active runaway, Lobb said.

The image shows a rendering of the new terminal of the Marco Island Executive Airport.

"It is now per modern FAA standards too close to our runway," Lobb said.

The approximately 16,500-square-foot facility will house the airport's operator, public lobby areas, pilot’s lounge, airport administrative offices and leased offices for airport business tenants, including car rental, flight schools and air charter operators, according to the county.

This first phase was funded primarily by Florida Department of Transportation grants and local funds, according to the county. The terminal's design, engineering and inspections are estimated to cost an additional $2.1 million.

Estimated to cost $4.1 million, Phase Two of the project includes the expansion of the aircraft apron up to the new terminal building and ultimately the demolition of the current terminal.

The second phase should be completed no later than January, Lobb said. Its design, engineering and inspections are estimated to cost an additional $825,000.

"We anticipate there is going to be a brief pause in that (phase)," Lobb said. "Once we transition into the new building, then we will be in a position to finish (it)."

One private company is also investing millions at the airport, Lobb said. A private contractor is set to break ground within months to build 11 hangar units in a 3-acre parcel, the last available for development.

The airport currently has 12 hangar units, according to the county.

The image shows a rendering of phase two of the project at the Marco Island Executive Airport.

Located north of Marco Island off Collier Boulevard, the airport was completed in 1976 and was initially used as a marketing tool to help sell lots on the island, according to the county's website.

Eventually the developers turned the airport over to the state and in the 1980s the state leased it directly to the county. In 1993, the Airport Authority was created to develop and manage the airport.

The authority estimates there were 58,400 takeoffs and landings at the airport last year, an average of 160 per day. That's a 178.1% increase since 2018, when the county estimated 21,000 takeoffs and landings.

Aircrafts that fly in and out of the airport range from small ones like Cessna 152, typically a flight training plane, to Bombardier Global Express or Gulfstream G700, which can weigh up to 110,000 pounds, according to the county.

It is estimated that the airport has a total annual economic impact of $31.7 million, according to a 2019 study from the Department of Transportation.

In the future, the airport may have an air traffic control tower if it meets certain FAA requirements, according to Lobb. FAA takes into account traffic density, accident rates and cost-benefit studies, among other factors, before allowing a tower, according to an FAA document.

“With the upcoming completion of our new terminal facility, expanded aircraft apron and additional hangars, the Marco Island Executive Airport will be positioned as the premier gateway to southern Collier County and the Paradise Coast," Lobb wrote in an email.

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