Beneath exposed beams and pipes, work is well underway on an expansion of the Salt Lake City International Airport’s concourse A.
And when the new wing of 22 gates fully opens in November 2023, travelers will enjoy plenty of new dining and shopping options for their journey.
Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Department of Airports, said the effort to find new concessionaires for the expanded concourse started in earnest about six months ago. Officials went through what he described as an elaborate process to review proposals.
“Because,” he said, “we want only the best available for customers here at the airport.”
Bleary-eyed travelers will be able to get their java jolt at local coffee companies Millcreek Coffee Roasters and Hugo Coffee.
Those looking to unwind with food and a pint will have options at Red Rock Brewery. Full-service food and alcohol also will be available at P.F. Chang’s.
Travelers seeking a quick meal from a local eatery will have access to Blue Iguana and Vessel Kitchen. Rockwell Ice Cream will have a spot for those desiring a sweet treat.
People who want to dine at a familiar national restaurant will have options, too. Burger King, Jimmy John’s, Wow Bao and Auntie Anne’s all have plans to operate in the eastern stretch of concourse A.
Protein Bar and Kitchen, with locations in and around Chicago, will serve healthy, protein-packed meals.
Shoppers will also have options in the expanded concourse with familiar stores like Hudson and local stores like a Utah Jazz pro shop.
The Atrium, a specialty retail concept, will offer plenty of familiar national brands, including Build-A-Bear, Brookstone, Herschel Supply Co. and Sunglass Hut. And SLC Public Market, a convenience store with a farmers’ market theme, will give travelers a place for a quick stop.
For those who want to escape the commotion of air travel, Minute Suites will offer quiet rooms to rent.
Mike Williams, who is overseeing the redevelopment of the airport, said the new shops and restaurants will likely open in November 2023, when the entire extension is set to be unveiled.
“There may be an opportunity to open a couple of them sooner,” he said, “but I think what you’ll find is they’ll all open at the same time.”
Some concessions, he said, will be available at temporary carts when the first four gates debut in May 2023.
All of the new restaurants and shops will be required to offer their products at the same prices they would charge in the community, a requirement that exists in areas of the airport that are already open.
“Concessionaires are often leery about this because they like to charge whatever they can,” Wyatt said. “But what we have discovered already in the existing facility is that they’re doing much better.”
That’s because customers know they are not going to get gouged at the airport.
When completed, the new wing will bring the total number of gates in concourse A to 47. All of the gates will be occupied by Delta Air Lines, which has a hub in Salt Lake City.
A year after the larger concourse A opens to the public, the airport plans to open a central tunnel, shortening that long trek to concourse B.
A decrease in travel early in the COVID-19 pandemic allowed construction crews to expedite the demolition of the old airport and expansion of the new one, putting the redevelopment project two years ahead of schedule.