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Distribution center at Lindbergh Field complete

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With a celebratory ribbon-cutting at its new Receiving and Distribution Center Wednesday, San Diego International Airport officially completed the first project in its history that utilizes a public-private partnership.

The airport also became the first in the nation to utilize a public-private partnership to build a special-use facility.

While the airport continues other work for its Green Build project, the public-private method of project delivery gave the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority much-needed flexibility in terms of financing the construction of the distribution center, said Nyle Marmion, the airport’s manager of concession development and the airport’s project manager.

“We like it because it didn’t tie up our bonding capacity,” Marmion said. “The $1 billion Green Build — as you might imagine, we had to make sure our bonds were focused on that facility.”

The airport partnered with Aviation Facilities Co. Inc. (AFCO) to design, build and finance the distribution center project, and the airport will make payments to AFCO over a maximum 20-year term. Bradford Airport Logistics will operate the 23,191-square-foot facility, which sits on about 1.5 acres on the airport’s north side. Construction took just about nine months, and cost about $9.8 million.

The new facility will be the central delivery location for the airport’s food, beverage, retail and other goods, consolidating efforts that had previously been scattered around the airport. Its construction is expected to provide relief from traffic congestion around the airport by removing 50 to 75 truck trips per day on Harbor Drive. It was also designed to accommodate potential Transportation Security Administration screening of 100 percent of the goods going to the terminals, should that become a requirement down the road.

Bringing 35 local design and construction firms together, The Augustine Co., based in Spring Valley, headed construction efforts, while architectural and engineering work was completed by the C & S Cos. The project was completed in October and the center will begin operations Nov. 19.

The airport is seeking to make the facility the world’s first LEED Gold-certified airport receiving and distribution center, banking on elements such as solar hot water systems, skylights, reflective roofing materials, water-efficient plumbing and delivery trucks powered by biodiesel processed from the airport’s waste cooking oils to get it there.

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