Firms compete to open new shops in retail revamp at Atlanta airport

Sixteen companies are competing for contracts to open new shops at Hartsfield-Jackson International in a massive revamp of retail outlets at the world’s busiest airport.

City officials aim to choose winners and finalize contracts before the end of the year — and before Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s term ends in January.

The companies are competing for more than 80 retail spots around the domestic terminal and concourses, split up among ten contracts.

Firms that threw their hats into the ring are HG ATL Retailers JV, Paradies Lagardère, the Marshall Retail Group, NewsLink of ATL LLC, DNC SSI ATL LLC, GA Travel Partners, Airport Retail Concessions Group, Crews of California dba Airport Retail Management, Hojeij Branded Foods, Duty Free Americas, National Concessions Management, Soul Vegetarian, Select Food Group, Stellar Partners, Business Traveler Service Inc. and Swyft Inc., according to City of Atlanta documents.

Concessionaires often form joint ventures including minority firms to compete for airport contracts.

The number of locations in each package varies from two to more than 20 in a single contract, with a term of seven years and a potential three-year renewal. Anywhere from one to six companies are competing for each contract.

A contract to operate seven locations totaling 5,207 square feet on Concourses B and D attracted a proposal from only one company, HG ATL Retailers JV. In the past, the city has canceled and restarted procurements because it said there were not enough qualified companies competing for the contract.

The contract that attracted the most competitors has six companies vying to operate three locations totaling 5,871 square feet on Concourses B and C.

The airport shop contracts have become political issues and part of a dispute in the Atlanta mayoral campaign race.

Early on, some concessionaires raised concerns that the city is rushing the contracting process as Reed’s term nears its end.

Then, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who is running for mayor, called for Reed and the city council to support a moratorium on the approval of city contracts that begin services in 2018 until the next council and mayor can weigh in.

The proposal sparked a battle of words between Mitchell and Reed.

This week, after former City of Atlanta chief procurement officer Adam Smith pleaded guilty in a federal bribery investigation, Mitchell reaffirmed his proposal for a moratorium on non-emergency contracts, “especially the multi-year, billion dollar airport concessions contracts that do not expire until well over a year from now,” he said in a written statement.

Although a number of airport contracts have been put on hold for months or even years, officials said they aimed for a “very aggressive” schedule to award the contracts in October and execute leases in December. On Wednesday, procurement officer Mano Smith said the city plans to stick with that schedule.

Some concessionaires had said they needed more time and raised questions about political uncertainty from a new regime coming into City Hall. The city delayed the deadline for companies to submit proposals from Sept. 6 until Sept. 27.

Retail locations at the airport last year brought in $153 million in revenue, not including duty free shops, according to the airport’s year-end concessions report.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Home Depot CEO says company investing, well-positioned
Home Depot CEO says company investing, well-positioned

Home Depot, the largest company based in Georgia, is poised for a growth spurt, but not because it plans to open a rash of new stores. Instead, the company will build more than 100 warehouses and distribution centers around the United States, including in Georgia, said Craig Menear, the company’s chief executive, during an...
Airlines expect record number of summer travelers
Airlines expect record number of summer travelers

A record 246.1 million passengers are expected to travel on U.S. airlines this summer, according to an industry group. Lobbying group Airlines for America said that’s the number of passengers expected on U.S. airline flights from June through August, up 3.7 percent from last year. The volume of traffic expected amounts to an average of 2.68 million...
Wes Moss: What you need to remember when navigating choppy markets
Wes Moss: What you need to remember when navigating choppy markets

I recently got a question from a listener to my radio show that I believe is relevant to just about every investor out there. For the sake of this article, we’ll call her Debbie. Debbie is retired and in her early 60s. For years, she kept a significant portion of her retirement savings in cash, waiting to put it to work when the time was right...
Atlanta ranks 10th in population increase, U.S. Census Bureau reports
Atlanta ranks 10th in population increase, U.S. Census Bureau reports

Among the U.S. cities with the biggest jump in population, Atlanta ranked 10th last year, according to a newly released report by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city saw an influx of 13,323 new residents between July 2016 and July 2017, translating to about 36 people moving in each day. Nationally, at the top of the list, San Antonio registered the largest...
New bank law spurs both support and criticism in Georgia
New bank law spurs both support and criticism in Georgia

Some Georgia bankers joined U.S. Sen. David Perdue in praising this week’s rollback of the Dodd-Frank law’s restrictions on banks, although consumer groups criticized the measure. The new banking law, signed by President Trump on Thursday, loosens the restraints on banks that were put in place by the Dodd-Frank law after the financial...
More Stories