Major Milestone As New Consolidated Rental Car Facility “Tops Out” In SeaTac
Story and photos by Michael Brunk
On Wednesday, July 14, workers and local dignitaries joined together to celebrate the “topping out” of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new consolidated rental car facility. When the new structure opens in spring of 2012, it will house all rental car related operations for the airport.
The ceremony, which by most accounts dates back to ancient Europe, marks the completion of the building’s basic structure. After the mandatory speeches, the dignitaries and labor representatives each signed the large steel beam that acted as a back drop for the day’s ceremony.
Bedecked with a banner representing the Iron Workers Local 86, an American flag on one end and an evergreen tree on the other, the beam was lifted by one of the large tower cranes and “flown” around the job site before being maneuvered into place on top of the structure.
With the final piece of structural steel in place, the construction project is around the half way point with a lot of work remaining in order to meet the scheduled opening date in early 2012.
Speakers at the event included Dave Soike, the Deputy Managing Director of Sea-Tac Airport, Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton, SeaTac Mayor Terry Anderson, rental car industry spokeswoman Lorie Tallarico, King County Labor Council AFL-CIO board member Lee Newgent, and Jack Beaudoin, Vice President and General Manager for Turner Construction.
All of the speakers emphasized the degree of cooperation and coordination required across multiple agencies, including the Port of Seattle, City of SeaTac, and the construction company and labor unions, for the project to move ahead and be successful despite roadblocks along the way.
The project was paused in December 2008 when economic conditions deteriorated. Construction resumed in July 2009 after the Port approved the sale of $317 million in revenue bonds to help fund the $419 million project. Almost the entire cost of the project will be paid back by fees paid by rental customers.
In the meantime, over 3,000 family-wage jobs will be generated over the life of the project and the City of SeaTac will collect nearly $2 million in tax revenue.
Much was made of the focus on minimizing the environmental impact. Turner Construction General Manager Jack Beaudoin stated that 95% of the materials used in constructing the facility were recycled, and that nearly 99% of construction waste leaving the site is being recycled. Beaudoin also declared the structure will be “salmon safe” with 85% of the car wash water reclaimed, filtered and reused. LEED certification is also being pursued for the facility
Once the new rental car facility opens, it will bring together operations that today are located at the airport and scattered across several off-site locations. In the process it will increase the number of companies providing cars from the five available at the airport today to a total of eleven. It will also free up more than 3,200 parking spaces in the main terminal garage.
Photographer Michael Brunk attended today’s ceremony and assembled the following slideshow. Click on the images to advance.