Division of mall operator Westfield wins LAX concessions contract
Marking a change in the way concession contracts have been awarded, airport officials Monday selected a division of a shopping mall operator to perform the next overhaul of dining and retail concessions at busy Los Angeles International Airport.
The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners awarded a major contract to Westfield Concession Management, a unit of the Westfield Group, the developer and operator of 55 shopping malls across the country, including in Culver City and Century City. Westfield Concession oversees retail and dining establishments at nine large airports.
The company will develop and manage a variety of restaurants, beverage stands and retail stores in Terminal 2, the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is undergoing a $1.5-billion renovation, and the jet-age-style Theme Building, home to the Encounter restaurant.
Officials have not revealed which restaurateurs and vendors are being considered.
The 17-year agreement with Westfield is expected to generate $331.1 million in revenue, of which Los Angeles World Airports will receive a minimum of almost $17.7 million the first year. The amount will be adjusted each year thereafter, based on inflation and passenger volume.
The selection of a shopping mall operator represents a change in the way concessions contracts have been awarded at the nation’s third-busiest airport, which has historically received low marks for its concessions.
In the past, airport officials have relied on companies that specialize in the development and selection of restaurants, beverage outlets and retail shops at commercial airports. They said Westfield should provide a greater variety of vendors and can better develop the available space in the terminals.
Westfield was picked using a competitive bid process that went much more smoothly than last year’s selection of concessionaires for terminals 4, 5, 7 and 8. The awarding of those contracts by a City Council committee was marked by bid protests, intense lobbying and allegations of conflicts of interest.
Airport officials are planning to award another concessions management contract for terminals 1, 3 and 6 later this year.
-- Dan Weikel
Photo: Aircraft roll past the Bradley West project at LAX, where cranes, cement mixers and workers are busy building a new terminal. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times