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5 CHAPTER TWO VACANT AND UNDERUTILIZED AIRPORT FACILITIES ROADMAP FOR REUSE Each of the components of Figure 2 is described in the following sections. Vacant facilities occur at airports for a variety of reasons. This chapter provides an overview of the circumstances that have led to vacancies and underutilized airport facilities. FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE Figure 2 graphically describes the root causes and precipitat- ing events that can result in vacancies and the complexities A scan of any 20-year period since jet aircraft became preva- that arise when the responsibility of upkeep and ownership lent in the 1960s would demonstrate the extent of functional falls unexpectedly on the airport sponsor. changes at airports. Passenger terminals are among the most transformed structures, reflecting advances in the scale of The left side of Figure 2 describes the conditions that operations, aircraft, technology, and security. Terminals have often precede facility vacancies. The first is functional expanded to accommodate mass air travel, connecting traf- obsolescence that occurs because of a facility's age or size fic, food and beverage services, retail, entertainment, wireless or because new technology or regulatory requirements are communication, passenger and baggage screening, and very expensive to retrofit. Functional obsolescence of a facility large aircraft. Technological changes and environmental reg- is usually anticipated, and the owner of the facility has ulations have altered building materials used, and the ADA set a plan for expansion, modernization, or demolition. The new standards for safety and access in public buildings. Each second root cause of vacancy arises from tenant bankrupt- new advance or requirement set additional specifications for cies, mergers, and restructurings. Reuse of these types of the next remodel, expansion, or update of terminals. After a facilities presents the greatest challenges to airport spon- while, it is hard for original architecture to keep pace with sors because ownership responsibilities for these facili- this rate of transformation. The story is similar for air cargo. ties are not anticipated. When a lease is rejected and the It was not until the late 1950s that containers came into wide facility reverts to the airport, buildings are often in poor use and knitted together the trucking industry, air cargo, and condition, costly to maintain, and new tenants are difficult ocean shipping to serve expanding global trade. The interface to find. The right side of Figure 2 describes four reuse of surface, rail, and air transport of cargo came even later. strategies that airports typically pursue. These are (1) find FedEx began operations in 1973 and expanded internationally a replacement tenant, (2) adapt for reuse, (3) demolish, or in the 1980s. Since that time, sorting facilities and cargo hubs (4) do nothing. have undergone tremendous technological and modal change. FIGURE 2 Vacant facilities roadmap. (Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc., 2010.)