NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 31, 2020) – Nashville Airport’s “BNA Vision” just opened its 4th major concourse and Out & About Nashville is one of the first local media outlets that received a tour of the $292 million project.
Art from local artists and pleasantly surprising new customer conveniences decorate the 115,000 new square feet of terminal space, adding to the airport’s original one million square feet. The 25 month long project will also include a 200,000 square foot expansion of the north and south ticket wings, a 136,000 square foot renovation of existing terminal space, and an 11,000 square foot central utility plant.
All six of the new gates in Concourse D are now being operated by Southwest Airlines, a heavyweight company that announced earlier this week it would not be laying off or furloughing employees at least until the end of 2020, despite the pandemic.
Built by Hensel Phelps Construction Company and designed by Fentress Architects, the Concourse features an indoor service animal relief area, a mother’s room for nursing, airfield views and terrazzo flooring. The Concourse will eventually feature two new restaurants directly across the aisle from each other, however, no contracts have been signed yet and CEO Doug Kruelen was not quite ready to give us those names just yet.
Two dramatic public art installations grace the new Concourse. “Lyrical Journeys” is a dynamic, $600,000 hanging work of art created by Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee of Houston, Texas and pays homage to the sights and sounds of Nashville. “Every New Day is the Best Day of Our Lives” is featured on the south end wall near Gate D6, and is a vibrant, photorealistic mural produced by Nashville artist Brian Tull.
Concourse D was designed, built and operates utilizing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most widely used green building rating system in the world, which, Kreulen says will save BNA an estimated $800,000 annually in utility bills. Some of the new “green” components include recycling receptacles, energy efficient lighting, water conservation, electrochromic glass that blocks out excessive sunlight and heat and geothermal cooling.
By 2023, completed projects will also include three Terminal Garages totalling 6800 spaces of covered parking, additional space for ticketing and baggage claim, renovated terminal lobby, expanded security checkpoint, a state of the art International Arrivals Facility, several dining spots, retail and service amenities, a new airport administration building, pedestrian plaza, hotel and potential transit connection.
No local tax dollars are used in the renovation project, however, according to a report released by research firm Martin Associates, in 2019 alone, BNA generated more than $8.1 billion in total economic impact, supported more than 76,000 jobs in the region and produced more than $443 million in state, local and federal taxes. With nearly 18.3 million passengers in 2019, BNA is rated one of the fastest growing airports in North America.
Kreulen says this is the first view of Nashville for many travellers, and his team wanted to develop construction that reflects the city, but also makes passengers feel welcome.
“The art can be a really great tool, for example if someone gets lost and they say ‘I’m by this painting or picture’, we can say ‘oh, you’re in Concourse D’ and find them very quickly,” says Kreulen.
The high end art, complex developments and energy-efficient implementations are all fascinating, but perhaps the most endearing feature of the expansion was Kreulen’s passion in talking about it. During the walk-through we found it evident that the team at BNA spent a significant number of hours planning the endeavor, and it is, in essence, a part of them.
Last year, visitors arriving through BNA spent an estimated $3.3 billion in the greater Nashville economy. Over 18 million passengers traveled in and out of BNA in 2019, a number expected to sharply decrease during 2020 due to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, at least 55,000 passengers brought traffic to the airport daily, a number which dropped as low as 500 just recently. But, Kreulen says it’s beginning to pick back up, and the airport has implemented several safety measures in an effort to protect passengers from the virus, raising their budget $2 million just this year.
“We are generally a very clean airport anyway, but we have really taken considerable extra steps to concentrate on safety precautions and protecting those coming through here,” says Kreulen.
Kreulen says that the airlines function with BNA much like business partners. There are policies that everyone must adhere to while in our facility until they leave the tarmac. Once they arrive here, they must follow our guidelines upon arrival at the gate.
There are 3 different ways BNA generates revenue. Through the rental of gates to over 9 airlines that fly in and out of Nashville, rental of space for restaurants and retail, and BNA merchandise. The group secured over $900 million in funds for the yearslong expansion project in an effort to keep up with the growing demand of passengers.
By 2041, the population of the Greater Nashville Area is expected to surpass 2.5 million people. BNA anticipates passenger traffic growing to more than 21 million a year, barring COVID-19 interruptions. Here’s a timeline of what’s open now and what you can expect in the near future:
This six-story structure is convenient to the terminal with 2,200 parking spaces, a parking space guidance system, vehicle locator and pay on foot kiosks, EV charging stations, a tire inflation station and Ground Transportation Center for commercial vehicle pickups.
New Concourse D
Project added 6 domestic aircraft gates, new dining and retail offerings and a new Central Utility Plant
COMPLETION EXPECTED IN 2020
Terminal Wings Expansions
Project underway now will add space at the North and South ends of the main terminal (Departures/Arrivals levels) for ticketing, baggage carousels and interim security screening lanes.
COMPLETION EXPECTED IN 2021
Terminal Garage, Airport Administrative Building, Pedestrian Plaza
Project underway now will add a 3000-space terminal garage convenient to the terminal, as well as a pedestrian plaza and 64,000 square foot airport administrative office building (opening early 2021).
COMPLETION EXPECTED IN 2023
Terminal Apron/Taxilane Expansion
Phase 1 filled a 50 foot depression near the airfield and paved the resulting space, adding 13 acres to accommodate construction of the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF). Phase 2 will ready the space for aircraft parking and maneuvering at the IAF. After the IAF opens in 2023, the space will be used for aircraft parking and maneuvering.
Terminal Garage/On-Site Hotel
Project will include an 1800-space terminal garage, an 11-story on-site hotel and potential transit connection.
International Arrivals Building
BNA’s Interim International Arrivals Building has been expanded and upgraded to accommodate immediate needs for additional international capacity while the permanent International Arrivals Facility (IAF) is designed and constructed. The new state of the art facility will include 6 international aircraft gates to accommodate the increase of international travelers, setting the stage to attract new nonstop international flights to Europe, Asia, Latin America and more.
Terminal Lobby Renovation
Spacious central entrance hall will warmly welcome travelers with natural light and compelling airfield views. It will comfortably accommodate airline ticketing and baggage check-in, and it will expedite the security screening process with an expanded and consolidated security checkpoint.
Donelson Pike Relocation and Terminal Access Roadway Improvements
Project will improve traffic conditions around the airport by straightening Donelson Pike from BNA’s taxiway bridges to the interstate, enhancing airport access to I40 East and West and expanding the airport’s existing terminal loop roadway.