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LAX concession contract awarded for 2 terminals and Theme Building

The overhaul of the dining and retail experience at Los Angeles International Airport continued Monday, when officials changed their approach and selected a division of a prominent shopping mall developer to provide concessions at two terminals and the Jet Age-style Theme Building.

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners awarded a major contract to Westfield Concession Management, a unit of the Westfield Group, the developer and operator of 55 shopping malls around the country, including ones in Culver City and Century City. Westfield Concession oversees retail and dining establishments at nine large airports.

The company will develop an array of restaurants, beverage stands and retail stores inside Terminal 2 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is undergoing a $1.5-billion renovation, and the landmark Theme Building, where the Encounter restaurant is located.

Officials have not revealed what restaurant operators and vendors are being considered.

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The 17-year agreement with Westfield is expected to generate more than $331 million in revenue for Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, LA/Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

Westfield and its concessionaires are required to invest at least $81.9 million for initial improvements and $16.4 million halfway through the life of the contract.

The selection of the firm represents a change in the way concessions contracts have been awarded in the ongoing effort to enhance passenger amenities at the nation’s third-busiest airport, which has historically received low marks for its concessions.

In the past, airport officials have relied on companies that specialize in the selection and oversight of restaurants, beverage outlets and retail shops at commercial airports. They say that Westfield, with its ties to the parent company, should provide a greater variety of vendors and do a better job of developing the large amount of concession space available in the Bradley terminal and Terminal 2.

Westfield was picked using a competitive bid process that went much more smoothly than last year’s selection of concessionaires for Terminals 4, 5, 7 and 8. The award of those contracts by a City Council committee was marked by bid protests, intense lobbying and allegations of conflicts of interest.

Airport officials are planning to award another concessions management contract for Terminals 1, 3 and 6 later this year.

dan.weikel@latimes.com


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