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188 This chapter presents an overview of concession-related capital investment and discusses the following: â¢ Cost of building on the airport â¢ Investment relative to sales â¢ Midterm investment â¢ Design guidelines and standards â¢ Permitting and monitoring buildout 12.1 Cost of Building on the Airport Building out concessions on an airport, whether retail or food and beverage, is typically more costly than constructing similar units in shopping centers. Security requirements and logistics make on-airport construction more costly. Construction in a new, unused terminal is similar to construction in shopping centers, but such opportunities are rare. More often than not, conces- sion buildout is undertaken in an occupied terminal. The average buildout cost data shown in Figures 12-1 and 12-2 are available from the surveys undertaken for this research project. For airports of all sizes, the cost of building out a full-service restaurant at an airport averaged $421 per square foot, with quick-serve units averaging slightly less, at $408 per square foot. Building out convenience retail and specialty retail units averaged $307 and $320 per square foot, respectively. These numbers are averages, and, depending on local factors, in some markets, construction costs are considerably higher. About 10% of airports in the survey reported buildout costs for food and beverage units averaging $500 per square foot or higher, with a few airports reporting average costs above $600 per square foot. The actual cost of building out concession space almost always exceeds the minimum investment requirements contained in RFPs. As indicated in Figure 12-2, the differences in average buildout costs at small, medium, and large hub airports are relatively small. The costs are basically independent of airport size and are mainly affected by the local construction market. 12.2 Investment Relative to Sales The survey of concessionaires and subsequent follow-up oral interviews identified the cost of constructing improvements as a concern. After high minimum rents, development costs were cited as the next most important airport concession-related business consideration. Concessionaires C H A P T E R 1 2 Capital Investment
Capital Investment 189 $421 $408 $307 $320 $0 $50 $100 $150 $200 $250 $300 $350 $400 $450 Full Service Restaurant Quick-Serve Convenience Retail Specialty Retail Average Buildout Cost per Square Foot Source: LeighFisher using data from the airport surveys conducted for ACRP Project 01-11. Figure 12-1. Reported average annual space buildout costs per square foot by concession categoryâ2009 dollars. $458 $385 $308 $350 $400 $385 $298 $294 $421 $440 $318 $339 $0 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 Sit dow n Re st aur ant s Qu i ck- Se rv e, Fa st F ood C onveni ence Re ta il S pec ia lt y Re ta il Bu il dout Co st per S quar e F oot Lar ge H ubs M edi um Hu bs Sm a ll H ubs Source: LeighFisher using data from the airport surveys conducted for ACRP Project 01-11. Figure 12-2. Reported average buildout costs by concession category and hub sizeâ2009 dollars.
cited generally increasing costs, arbitrary design review processes, and unreasonably high standards among factors contributing to the rise in concession development costs. Midterm refurbishment costs, discussed in Section 12.3, were not considered to be a major concern. Table 12-1 summa- rizes the business practices needing improvement as ranked by concessionaires responding to the survey conducted for this research project. In most cases, concession development costs are a contractual commitment resulting from the procurement process. Typically, the airport operator sets a minimum investment cost per square foot, and concessionaires propose, among other things, a minimum investment amount. Minimum investment requirements included in RFPs typically understate the actual amount of investment that will be required. The amount of investment proposed by a concessionaire will be based on the business oppor- tunity and expected revenues. In discussions with concessionaires and experienced design con- sultants, two ârules of thumbâ emerged that can help airport operators assess the ability of the concession opportunity to support the expected level of investment. 1. Sales at two times cost per square foot. A general rule of thumb is that the first-year projected sales per square foot should be at least twice the expected cost per square foot of developing the space, assuming a typical length of term. This âruleâ provides the sales volume necessary to produce the earnings required to support amortization of the investment. Where sales per square foot are expected to be high, higher investment amounts can be supported. Where sales per square foot are projected to be lower, the investment may not be viable and other considerations may be necessary, such as a longer agreement term. Where multiple spaces are included in a concession opportunity, spaces with high sales potential can be combined with spaces with lower sales potential to create a package that can support the required investment. Some concessionaires may require a higher sales-to-investment ratio. 2. Straight-line depreciation. Another rule of thumb is that the annual straight-line investment (investment without interest divided by the number of years in the term of the agreement) divided by the annual expected sales should range between 2.5% and 4.0% of sales. Each concessionaire has its own approach for determining the amount of investment it proposes. Investment can vary according to category (for example, food and beverage) and concept (for exam- ple, quick-serve), as well as the concessionaireâs own cost structure and development capabilities. 190 Resource Manual for Airport In-Terminal Concessions Business Practice Weighted Average Rank 1 Minimum annual guarantees 4.3 2 Cost of constructing improvements 4.0 3 Length of term 3.9 4 Street pricing 3.6 5 Percentage rents 3.4 6 RFP processes 3.4 7 Design review processes 3.1 8 Performance standards in concession agreements 3.1 9 Lack of transparency in solicitation process 3.0 10 Midterm refurbishment requirements 2.9 Source: LeighFisher using data from the airport surveys conducted for ACRP Project 01-11. Table 12-1. Business practices in need of change or improvement according to concessionaires (Issues ranked on a scale of 1 [least] to 5 [most]).
12.3 Midterm Investment Airport food and retail units are high-traffic areas that can become shabby or out-of-date well before the end of the agreement term. For this reason, 80% of the operators of reporting airports indicated that a midterm refurbishment requirement is included in their agreements. Most air- port operators use one of three methods to ensure that reserves are set aside by the concession- aires for midterm investment: â¢ Dollar per square foot requirement. The range of requirements reported by airport opera- tors was $50 to $300 per square foot. Some agreements incorporate a cost of living escalator in the calculation. â¢ Percentage of the initial capital investment. Requirements are typically 15% to 20% of the initial capital investment. One airport operator reported identifying a minimum capital requirement of 50% of the initial capital investment in its concession RFPs. â¢ Specified upgrades or changes. This method involves defining the specific leasehold improve- ments that will be required midterm. Other methods reported by airport operators included requiring midterm capital investment based on a percentage of sales, establishing the amount of midterm investment during agree- ment negotiation, and requiring the midterm investment amount to be identified by bidders at the proposal stage. 12.4 Design Guidelines and Standards Many airport operators provide design guidelines and standards to be followed by concession- aires in their design and buildout. The objectives of these guidelines and standards are to ensure that life safety is protected, maintain a desired quality of materials and finishes, and bring the concession appearance in line with an overall architectural theme. Design guidelines vary widely with respect to the appearance of the concessions, from very minimalist guidelines, which leave much of the look of the concession storefronts up to the con- cessionaires, to very strong guidelines, which create a single storefront design that must be used by all. The selection of a particular approach is usually determined by the airport operatorâs interest in creating a themed environment and by the terminal architectâs interest in guiding the concession design to conform to the design of the terminal. There are many examples of terminal architects working to minimize the effect of the conces- sions through the use of stringent design requirements for storefronts and signage. This approach can be in direct contradiction to the airport operatorâs goal of maximizing revenues and customer satisfaction; in such cases, the airport operatorâs concessions management department needs to be active in protecting its interests, which may be different from those of the terminal architect. Tenant design standards tend to have a similar format from one airport to another. A typical list of information included in tenant design standards for food and beverage concessions is the following: â¢ General landlord criteria â Theme goals and guidelines â Tenant design responsibilities â Base building utilities and provisions â¢ Unit design standards â Limits of tenant space â Base building elements to be provided by airport operator Capital Investment 191
â Building elements to be provided by tenant â Entrances and storefronts â Merchandise display and fixtures â Quality of tenant finishes â¢ Signage design standards â Sign types and materials â Blade signs â Signage at storefront entries and enclosures â Signage within tenant spaces â¢ Food and beverage criteria â General procedures and responsibilities â Tenant contractor check-in/access â Signage â Menu board â Food service and preparation requirements â¢ Submissions â Preliminary presentation â Final submissions â¢ Tenant construction criteria â General procedures and responsibilities â Tenant contractor check-in/access â Interruptions to operation of existing facilities â Floor loading and structural constraints 12.4.1 General Landlord Criteria The general landlord criteria typically set the framework for tenant design. The airport oper- atorâs objectives for the concession program are described, the terminal architecture is illus- trated, and the theme (if any) and associated color palettes are described and illustrated. Theming can be used to provide overall cohesion to the concession program or to provide or enhance a sense of place. Theming is typically established by the terminal architect in consulta- tion with airport management or by the concession planning team. Some locales, particularly those that are primarily tourist destinations, lend themselves to fairly strong theming, while others do not. The most beneficial stage in which to incorporate theming is early in the termi- nal design process, so that interaction between the individuals responsible for terminal design and concession theming can be a two-way dialogue. 12.4.2 Unit Design Standards Unit design standards identify the division of responsibilities between the landlord and the concessionaire, including the provision of utilities. Tenant space is defined, and guidance is pro- vided on how movable displays may be used. In the past, tenant design criteria typically required movable displays to remain within the leased space. More recently, there has been a shift at some airports to âsoftâ storefronts, in which the placement of movable displays in a defined area in front of the concession is permitted. Variations exist from airport to airport in defining landlord and tenant responsibilities, but in the most common division of responsibilities the airport operator is responsible for common area passenger walkways including lighting, ceiling, flooring, walls, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); basic demising walls between concessions; concrete slab floors; a structural grid ceiling; and utilities brought to the perimeter of the tenant space. 192 Resource Manual for Airport In-Terminal Concessions
The concessionaire is responsible for the complete interior finish including interior partitions, wall finishes, flooring, ceilings, storefront closures, fixtures, furniture, and equipment and the distribution of utilities within the concessions space including HVAC, plumbing, electrical power, lighting, life safety, and communications equipment. Typically, unit design standards also include diagrams, similar to those shown on Figures 12-3 through 12-6. If the concession program has a theme or strong design controls, additional guidance may be provided on storefronts, including materials and specific guidance on permitted storefront closure types. A list of materials not acceptable for storefronts may also be provided. Unacceptable items typically include gypsum board, wallpaper, plywood, particle board, pegboard, field painted metal, cork, carpet, fabric, and any other materials that the airport operator determines are not compatible with the building architecture or are insufficiently durable for a high-traffic area. Floor materials are prescribed in the tenant design criteria, including expectations with respect to durability, compatibility with the base building design, as well as the requirement that the fin- ished floor elevation match the terminal finished floor elevation. The transition between the base building floor finish and the tenant floor finish is critical. The floor levels in the base building area and the tenant space must not create a tripping hazard. Most tenant spaces will connect to the base building flooring material, e.g., carpet tile. A flush and seamless transition is preferred between the base building and tenant doors. Any transition strips must be metal. In any case, the maximum variation in floor levels at locations where materials, tracks, or thresholds change is 5 millimeters. The unit design criteria also apply to the layout of the unit to guide the design and ensure the following: â¢ Adequate store area exists to maintain customer queuing within the lease lines Capital Investment 193 Source: Architectural Alliance and LeighFisher, âTerminal Planning, Design, and Construction, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica 2005â2009,â unpublished. Figure 12-3. Example of buildout limitsâplan.
194 Resource Manual for Airport In-Terminal Concessions Source: Architectural Alliance and LeighFisher, âTerminal Planning, Design, and Construction, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica 2005â2009,â unpublished. Figure 12-4. Example buildout limitsâelevation. Source: Architectural Alliance and LeighFisher, âTerminal Planning, Design, and Construction, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica 2005â2009,â unpublished. Figure 12-5. Example storefront openings and signage areasâelevation. â¢ Layouts cater to passengersâ limited time, with displays arranged to encourage impulse purchases â¢ Ease of browsing and speed of transactions are incorporated â¢ Displays do not interfere with egress from or access to the store â¢ Aisle widths are adequate for passengers with baggage or luggage carts and to accommodate disabled persons, particularly those in wheelchairs Expectations with respect to fixtures and furnishings are also included in the unit design criteria.
Lighting is typically an important element of the unit design criteria. Concessionaires seek effect with their lighting, while the airport operator seeks both quality and compatibility with the terminal. Types of acceptable and unacceptable lighting are typically described in detail. If the airport operator has an energy reduction plan in place, the lighting criteria may require low energy fixtures and limits on overall lighting levels. 12.4.3 Signage Design Standards Signage requires planning on a broad level before signage design standards are prepared. Questions to be answered include the following: â¢ Is the signage to be subdued or will it be an element of the color and impact of the terminal? â¢ Will signage be permitted to extend above the defined storefront? Under what conditions? â¢ Are the ceiling heights sufficient to allow the use of blade signs? â¢ How much individuality will be permitted in the shape and size of blade signs, if allowed? Airport operators require the signage and related graphic designs to be fully integrated and coordinated with the overall terminal design concept and of a quality consistent with the termi- nal. To achieve this, the signage design criteria define acceptable sign types, for example: â¢ Light conductive, edge-lit glass â¢ Push-through illuminated letters â¢ Reverse channel-lit lettering â¢ Routed metal or stone â¢ Dimensional letters of metal, stone, or wood â¢ Etched on glass halo lit and/or surface illuminated signs â¢ Creative use of materials complementary to the facility theme Capital Investment 195 Source: Architectural Alliance and LeighFisher, âTerminal Planning, Design, and Construction, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica 2005â2009,â unpublished. Figure 12-6. Example buildout limitsâsection.
The signage criteria also define signage types that are discouraged or even disallowed: â¢ Plastic signs, such as injection molded or vacuum formed â¢ Backlit back-painted signs without a halo effect â¢ Painted or handwritten signs â¢ Foam letters or graphics â¢ Sand blasted wood or foam signs â¢ Neon letters â¢ Signs with replaceable letters â¢ Vacuum-formed or moving signs â¢ Generic signage, such as âNews/Giftsâ or âPizzaâ â¢ Signs that do not convey permanence â¢ Bright flashing or strobe lighting â¢ Unprotected or exposed neon or other exposed light sources â¢ Menu or merchandise boards where price changeability is obvious â¢ Posted advertisements of sales and product lines With respect to blade signs, the signage design criteria either require blade signs as part of the overall signage, or disallow them. For consistency, it is uncommon to leave the decision on blade signs to individual tenants. Also for consistency, the signage design criteria often indicate that the airport operator will provide the bracket and associated lighting for blade signs. Sketch draw- ings similar to that shown in Figure 12-7 are often provided. Signage criteria may also require tenants to submit interior store signage for review and approval by the airport operator. 196 Resource Manual for Airport In-Terminal Concessions Source: Architectural Alliance and LeighFisher, âTerminal Planning, Design, and Construction, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica 2005â2009,â unpublished. Figure 12-7. Example blade sign criteria.
12.4.4 Food and Beverage Criteria Additional controls primarily related to health and safety issues are applied to food and bev- erage units, including the following requirements: â¢ Preparation of food using raw or partially prepared ingredients should be concealed from public view unless otherwise acceptable to the airport operator and other authorities having jurisdiction. â¢ Food service preparation should comply with all regulations of food and health safety author- ities having jurisdiction. â¢ All odor-producing operations, products, and equipment are controlled. Exceptions are typ- ically allowed for bakeries, coffee, etc. â¢ Exhaust systems be fabricated from stainless steel with an integral fire suppression system and compliant with National Fire Protection Association standards â¢ Where needed, the concessionaire provides (and maintains) individual grease traps. â¢ The finish on all walls in the sales area behind the counter is ceramic tile or equivalent. â¢ The concessionaire should install a waterproof membrane beneath tile floor in all kitchen, food preparation, dish washing, restroom, and bar locations. The requirements for the public areas of food units are also spelled out, including the follow- ing requirements: â¢ Food service equipment, storage of goods and supplies, beverage dispensers, cash registers, and other equipment must be concealed from view as much as possible. â¢ Sneeze guards and/or tray slides, when required, be custom designed as an integral part of the front counter and be constructed of glass and stainless steel or brass. â¢ The materials for the counter facings must be durable and nonporous. Airport operators typically require each food unit to have a menu board to inform customers about selection and price, and guidance is typically provided on the materials, and so forth for the menu board to avoid temporary or âhandmadeâ signage. 12.4.5 Submissions Ideally, the tenant design criteria are circulated with RFPs for concessions so that the prospec- tive concessionaires are already generally familiar with the criteria at the proposal stage. To ensure that the tenant design standards are implemented, a series of submissions of the concessionaireâs designs are typically requiredâincluding a preliminary design, submissions at various stages of preparation (e.g., 30%, 60%, and 95%), and a submission of final 100% design drawings. The preliminary design is submitted early in the design process to provide the airport opera- torâs design team an opportunity to comment on the design concept so that the teamâs require- ments can be incorporated into the concessionaireâs final construction drawings. This preliminary design submission typically includes the following: â¢ Storefront plan or food counter elevation and section (1:50 scale) â¢ Floor plan, furnishings plan, and reflected ceiling plan (1:50 scale) â¢ Storefront color rendering or photograph of typical storefront, including proposed signage â¢ Material sample board keyed to the drawings â¢ Confirmation that the floor loading will comply with building standards â¢ Proposed material and finish schedule with samples, including furnishings â¢ Electrical and mechanical load summary The airport operatorâs design team reviews the preliminary submission and accepts the sub- mission, accepts the submission with changes to be incorporated, or rejects the submission. Capital Investment 197
The final submission is intended to consist of working drawings that incorporate comments received from the airport operator at the various submission stages. The final submission typi- cally includes the following: â¢ Architectural drawings and specification requirements â Floor plans and reflected ceiling plan â Interior layout and design concept including merchandising layout(s) â Dimensions from lease lines and center lines of demising partitions, separating leaseholds, and floor materials â Storefront elevations and sections of food and bar counters â Storefront, food counters, and bar details â Interior elevations and details sufficient for construction â Interior finish schedule â Storefront, including emergency exit(s) â Signage and canopy elevations and sections including letter style and size, colors, materi- als, methods of illumination, color of illumination, wattage, mounting details, transformer location, and access â Specifications and identification of materials incorporated into the concessionaireâs design â A âsample boardâ illustrating proposed finish materials and colors, such as paint samples, floor and wall covering samples, illustrations of the proposed lighting, and so forth â Furnishings plan, specifications, and material and color selections, including samples â Specifications, if not on drawings â Any other special facilities or installations that may affect airport facilities such as vaults and kitchen equipment â Weight and location of heavy equipment such as safes, refrigeration equipment, showcases, and masonry facing materials â¢ Engineering drawings and specification requirements â Under floor electrical or plumbing plans (if any) â A dimensional location plan of all floor openings, if required â¢ Electrical drawings â Lighting, power, and communication layout including panel schedules â Installation and product specifications, either on the drawings or submitted separately â Load calculations indicating the total connected load, total demand load in kilowatts, and area of the space â Fire alarm connections to the existing fire alarm system â Emergency battery pack lighting and exit lighting â¢ Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) and plumbing drawings â Ductwork and diffuser layout for ventilation and air conditioning and location of room thermostat and makeup air requirement, complete with heat gain calculations and thermo- stat location â Plans or sketches showing location of the equipment complete with catalogue sheets, spec- ifications, and sketches showing gas, water, and electrical consumption; horsepower; and other requirements 12.4.6 Tenant Construction Criteria In a terminal in operation, concessionaire buildout must be carefully managed and coordinated for safety and to minimize disruption to passenger flows. Even in a new terminal, concessionaire buildout must be managed to coordinate with terminal construction, which is typically occurring simultaneously. The construction criteria for the construction process and the concessionaireâs responsibilities must be clear and include the following: 198 Resource Manual for Airport In-Terminal Concessions
â¢ A requirement that no work commence until written approval of all plans has been provided by the airport operator, proof of insurance has been provided to the airport operator, and the lease agreement is in place. â¢ Identification of the access points and routes for construction materials to enter the terminal and be transferred to the concession buildout area. â¢ The hours of access for the movement of construction materials if movement through the public areas is required. â¢ The hours for any functions that could disrupt utilities. â¢ Restriction of storage of construction materials to the leased concession space and restrictions on the floor loading of stored materials. â¢ Assurance that no equipment, materials, or tools are in public areas of the airport. This was always important for passenger safety, but has become critical with enhanced security. â¢ A requirement preventing construction dust from being tracked onto the public area floor. Where a concession program is being redeveloped as part of a major terminal reconstruction, it may be valuable to create a plan of construction operations to ensure that a minimum level of passenger service is provided. For example, a minimum level of service may require at least one food unit and one news unit per concourse to be open throughout the reconstruction. A plan of construction operations should include the schedule for each concession demolition and recon- struction, which the airport operator should review to ensure that the minimum level of service is maintained throughout the construction period. 12.5 Permitting and Monitoring Buildout Obtaining a building permit is typically the responsibility of the concessionaire and the con- cessionaireâs engineers/architects. Typically, concessionaire agreements require that all work conform to applicable codes, ordinances, and regulations governing such workâbuilding, elec- trical, and plumbing. In addition, the concessionaire often has a specific obligation to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including providing proof of an independent review of the design by an ADA expert and verifying that the completed installa- tion complies with ADA. 12.5.1 Monitoring Buildout Approval of tenant submittals is insufficient to ensure that concessions are built out as planned. The airport operator has the responsibility to monitor construction to verify that life safety issues are being addressed (gas and electrical connections and testing for example), that the materials installed comply with the approved submittals, and that the quality of construction is acceptable. Some concessionaires are capable and diligent about using the construction materials and methods to which they have committed, while others may cut corners. To ensure that tenant buildout is to plan, daily inspections of the buildout are recommended. When concessionaires may endeavor to use substitute materials, their approach is often to create a âfait accompliâ through rapid delivery and installation of the buildout. At airports where a significant concession buildout program is under way, provision of a ded- icated concession buildout supervisor is recommended for the period of concession buildout. The role of this supervisor is not only to ensure that the concessionaire(s) build to plan, but also to act as a liaison with the terminal design team to answer concessionaire questions during build- out and to troubleshoot. Capital Investment 199