New arrivals lobby costing more, taking longer than initially ex - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

New arrivals lobby costing more, taking longer than initially expected

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Cost overruns for the airport's massive international arrivals lobby project are tracking at about six percent. And the target completion date has been pushed back from this September to early next year. That's the update from Guam International Airport Authority management, to the Guam Legislature's Committee on Air Transportation.

The new 3rd-floor lobby was mandated by TSA back in 2003 to separate incoming non-TSA screened passengers from departing passengers. The airport finally awarded a contract in 2016 totaling $111 million, and with change orders, the new cost is at $118 million.

But Executive Manager Tom Ada said there are more proposed changes that will add another $12 million, which would bring the overall project cost to $130 million.

"The reason for a lot of these change orders is that the design and the condition of the structure are really not matching," Ada said. "So when they open up walls and open up, ceilings, they're finding that. There's pipes and other infrastructure that's in there that was not shown on the architectural drawings."

The cost overruns also meant other projects such as a covered parking garage had to be tabled, but Ada says there may be an opportunity for public-private partnerships to complete those.

Ada also gave an update on its longstanding legal battles with DFS over the lucrative master retail concession contract awarded to rival Lotte Duty Free.

Ada says the $15 million deal accounts for 25 percent of the airport's annual revenues and covers about 40 percent of its bond debt service.

"From that perspective, that Lotte concession is very important to the airport and must be protected, that revenue source must be protected, to the extent that we can," he said.

The 10-year $144 million contract with Lotte was voided last year by Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas. The court is allowing Lotte to continue while the airport appeals the decision to the Supreme Court.

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