Plans for a $76.6 million parking garage expansion at Indianapolis International Airport are again moving forward after the project was delayed more than two years by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority’s board in June authorized funding for the five-story, 1,500-space addition on the north side of its existing parking structure. About 1,000 of the spaces will be used by car rental companies while the remainder will be designated for daily or hourly parking.
Jarod Klaas, senior director of planning and development for the airport authority, told IBJ the project will be beneficial for both the car companies and general users.
“The benefits are really twofold,” Klaas said. “Our desire to continue to provide a world class experience and convenience really played into” the decision to move the project forward.
That’s because many of the rental car companies are expanding their fleets and pivoting to more electric vehicles (the airport separately plans to add chargers to support more EVs). Additionally, the airport is facing a shortage of spaces in the garage, with at least two floors at or near capacity most days of a given week.
The garage expansion will be connected to the existing facility and designed in a similar manner, allowing it to blend in with the current structure. Because of that, it’s expected some interruption will occur in the existing facility, such as spaces being unavailable in part of the structure during construction, Klaas said.
The addition includes a $14.4 million, fifth-level canopy with solar panels that will power the parking facility. In terms of electric vehicles, the airport already has some available for users, but more are expected to be added as part of future improvement projects.
Klaas said long-term conversations about the airport’s parking facilities are underway as part of a master planning effort, including whether more garages could be added. The airport’s existing parking garage has 7,100 parking spaces on five floors: 1,200 for rental car fleets and 5,900 for paid public parking.
The airport’s board first approved contracts for the new garage in August 2019, allocating $2.34 million to Indianapolis architecture firm CSO Inc. to design the project. The firm also was involved in the construction of the airport’s terminal, which opened in 2008. The airport around that time also engaged with Cincinnati-based Messer Construction Co. for project management services.
But the project—initially expected to be finished in early 2021—was put on hold in early 2020 when the pandemic shut down the travel industry. The firms were re-engaged by the airport in late 2021 to complete construction documents and prepare for work to begin, Klaas said.
The garage expansion will be debt-serviced through municipal bonds, which will be repaid using parking fees, which make up a major part of the airport’s revenue. In 2019, the airport generated about $59.4 million in parking fees.
Work on the garage is expected to start by the end of this year and conclude in the first quarter of 2024.
The garage project comes as the airport continues work on a complete rebuild of one of the airport’s three runways. That $73 million project—expected to be completed in late autumn—will be the first since the runway was built in 1989. About three-quarters of the project, $56 million, is being paid for with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.
The concrete on the rebuilt runway and taxiway will be about 22 inches thick and is expected to last about 40 years. Rebuild plans for the other two runways, including one that is similar in age, will likely come in the next few years, Klaas said.
“We’ve already begun the … capital program to reflect the likely need to do the northern parallel [runway] in a similar manner,” he said.