Burbank, Airport Authority set terms for new terminal at Bob Hope
After months of negotiations and a stalemate, the city of Burbank and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority finally hammered out and agreed to a set of basic terms, which the parties expect to be the base for a future development agreement for construction of a proposed 14-gate replacement terminal at Bob Hope Airport.
That was a challenge, airport officials said this week, but the bigger concern will be figuring out how to fund the project, which is expected to cost upward of $400 million.
“The numbers ultimately are going to determine whether or not we can make this thing happen,” said Terry Tornek, Pasadena’s mayor and a member of the airport authority board, noting that it may be easy to lose sight of that fact amid the political wrangling between officials on both sides.
Authority President Frank Quintero said he agreed 100%. Board member Don Brown of Burbank said the board members “have our work to do.”
Airport officials on Monday approved several contracts for services that would not only help them begin to identify the financial feasibility and mixture of financing options, but also to begin design work necessary to complete an environmental study and other city-required development-review processes to put the issue before Burbank voters on a ballot in November 2016.
The development agreement and additional processes necessary to move the project forward — such as a second environmental study required to receive “substantial federal funding,” according to an airport staff report — are contingent on voter approval, airport officials said.
Working backward from the Nov. 8 presidential election day next year, “there are quite a few things that the authority must do, starting now,” said Dan Feger, the airport’s executive director.
The authority board unanimously approved a $315,000 contract, with a $200,000 contingency, with Jacksonville, Fla.,-based RS&H Inc., for preliminary design services and other tasks, such as a topographical survey of the airport, which the city will require and are necessary for a state-required environmental impact study that is underway.
RS&H, which is also conducting the environmental study for the airport, was the top-ranked of five bidders on the contract, according to a review of the proposed fee and consulting team composition. The firm had the second-lowest proposed fee and the best team, which gave it the lead overall.
“They do everything from soup to nuts in terms of aviation facilities,” Feger said.
One element where RS&H’s proposal was strongest was in the firm’s plan to bring in outside experts to design the parking structures for the replacement terminal, which Feger said are expected to be complicated and will have airport roadways running beneath them.
Some other firms proposed using in-house experts who local airport officials thought were not as strong as RS&H’s partners.
The board also approved a series of contracts for financial services to flesh out funding possibilities for the project, including a $90,000 contract with Manhattan Beach-based EQLaunch for development of a financing model that would help planners “mix and match” how components of the three alternatives for the terminal project could be funded.
“There are different potential funding sources,” Feger said, likening the process of matching those sources to the terminal’s elements to putting together a fruit salad.
The authority awarded a $140,000 contract to Ricondo and Associates, based in Chicago, to study the feasibility of funding the project through charges paid by passengers, which involves updating projections for the airport’s passenger numbers through 2022. Forecasts currently run through 2017.
The airport’s longtime financial adviser, Public Resources Advisory Group, was awarded a $75,000 contract for its services. The authority agreed to pay San Francisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, its current bond counsel, $80,000 for its services related to the replacement terminal project.
Officials have promised they will not seek Burbank taxpayer funds, but plan to pay for the project through charges paid by airport users and federal grants, among other sources. They expect to spend another roughly $500,000 on additional financial feasibility work in the next 12 months, for a total of nearly $900,000.
The replacement project cannot be fully funded through bonds or federal funds, Tornek said, which is why the firms are being hired to look at various alternatives.
“Paying for this is going to be a real challenge,” he said.
Chad Garland, firstname.lastname@example.org