LONG BEACH, Calif. - Outdoor fire pits, a garden and iPad and wine bars are among the passenger amenities in the new $45 million resort-like concourse at Long Beach Airport.
The concourse opened Wednesday, five months ahead of schedule and entirely funded through airport revenue.
It features two terminal buildings, 4,200 square feet of outdoor seating and more than 10,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space.
"The biggest comment you get is, 'Thank God, it's about time,'" Mayor Bob Foster said. "People love using this airport. It's very convenient, but it was not comfortable. It was crowded and there weren't really the kinds of concessions you'd like to have. ... Now it's all here, and it's all Long Beach."
Local vendors added to the airport include Polly's Coffee, Sweet Jill's Bakery, 4th Street Vine and George's Greek Cafe, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram (http://bit.ly/UmWOZW ).
Long Beach Clothing Co. added a second location called 562 Experience and McKenna's on the Bay added an airport restaurant called McKenna's on the Fly.
"So many airports are so generic, and you don't know where you are," Polly's Gourmet Coffee owner Mike Sheldrake said in praising the local flavour at the airport. "If we had chain stores here, you would get your chain store food, you would eat and then get on a plane.
"Now, when you eat at George's Greek Cafe, or the Burger Bar or Taco Beach, you say 'Oh, my gosh,' you get home, and you tell everybody. That's another marketing tool the city has to differentiate ourselves."
And to top it off, solar generators on the roof offset 13 per cent of the facility's power demand, according to officials.
The project's focus was on the customer, from the plush seating to the street prices of the food, airport executive director Mario Rodriguez said, noting a cup of Polly's coffee or a George's gyro Greek salad costs the same, whether you're at Belmont Shore or at the concourse.
Information from: Press-Telegram, http://www.presstelegram.com