Cleveland Hopkins announces billion-dollar growth plan

Concourse expansions, hotel redevelopment, more

CLEVELAND - Expanded concourses, modernized terminals, ticketing and baggage screening areas. On Tuesday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Airport Director Ricky Smith announced those projects, part of a plan to spend $1.6 billion over the next 24 years. 

"Now this is a demand driven project," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. "Meaning, if there's no demand, there's no investment."

The goal is to allow Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to keep up with a city that is pushing ahead with plans to draw more business and visitors.

 

The master plan, unveiled Tuesday at noon at the airport, also includes an expansion of the parking garage and construction of a new cargo and maintenance facility.  The latter would allow the airport to handle more cargo planes and perform the maintenance on the aircraft without handing the work off to a third party. 

For travelers, the blueprint includes an off-site restaurant and gas station, and redevelopment of the present Sheraton Airport hotel. 

Each portion of the plan will need to be approved individually by Cleveland City Council, based on the demand for the improvement and the return yielded to the city.  The majority of the financing will come from the Federal Aviation Administration - 44 percent.  The city of Cleveland will provide 28 percent of the dollars, private investors will make up the rest.

Some renovations are already underway, mostly behind the scenes at the airport.

"This is our doorway," said Jackson. "This is our front room. And we want to make sure that people have a great experience."

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