ST. LOUIS – Nearly a third of a billion dollars worth of new demolition and relocation projects offer the surest signs yet that St. Louis Lambert International Airport, as we know it, may be in the final stage of its lifespan.
Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge confirms the airport’s 12 signatory airlines have agreed to fund 75% or more of $331,644,000 worth of work to free up space for the proposed airport expansion to a single terminal with 62 gates, up from the current 54 gates across two terminals. The cost of the monumental single-terminal transformation is $3 billion.
Hamm-Niebruegge called the upcoming work “enabling projects.”
- Demolition and relocation of the airport’s outdated power plant, known as the Central Utility Plant (CUP)
- A new de-icing pad on the site of the aging Airfield Maintenance Facility, which will also be reconstructed in another location
- Demolition of the vacant Air National Guard complex just west of the current Terminal 1
Under the single terminal expansion plan, passengers will be boarding planes at new gates where the vacant Air National Guard complex currently stands.
“They’re being relocated to other places so that that line of sight for what is proposed would obviously fit … right down that line of sight,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.
In an unrelated move, the airport commission also approved baggage claim expansion at Terminal 2 with Southwest Airlines paying off the $60 million to $80 million in bonds being issued to finance construction.
The estimated $3 billion single terminal plan still needs environmental approval and an agreement with those 12 airlines.
“We broke those projects out to get those moving, get things moving, so that we can keep the timeline we’re projecting hopefully for the agreement on the new terminal,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.
That timeline calls for groundbreaking on the new single terminal in 2026, with completion in 2031.