Passengers roam through a Lacoste store at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Atlanta City Council recently approved new airport concession contracts, which include Chicken N Beer, a dining concept through a partnership between rapper, Ludacris, and Atlanta Restaurant Partners.
Speculation and talk about new concessions contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have been swirling for months. Now, the City of Atlanta has taken a major step toward deciding the matter.
The Atlanta City Council recently voted, 12-3, to approve the Department of Aviation’s recommendations for contracts for 126 food-and-beverage locations, and 24 retail locations at the world’s busiest airport, and its soon-to-open Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, according to Sonji Jacobs, a spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Katena Carvajales, a spokesperson for Hartsfield-Jackson, said Mayor Reed should sign the contracts this week, and the Department of Aviation cannot comment on the matter until the contracts are signed.
“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the economic engine, not only for the City of Atlanta and the metropolitan region, but also for the state of Georgia,” said Reed, in a written statement.
He said the new concession contracts will produce an annual revenue of $51 million, which is an increase of more than $23 million. The contracts, said Reed, will offer world-class food, beverage and retail options to the 90 million passengers who visit the airport on an annual basis.
Reed added that the airport’s international terminal will open this spring and will secure Atlanta’s position as the global capital of the Southeast for decades to come.
Spokeswoman Jacobs said the annual rent from the new concessions program is expected to create about $2 million per month in additional revenue. Hartsfield-Jackson already has an annual economic impact of $32.6 billion in the metro area, officials say, and is the single, largest employer in Georgia, with 58,000 direct employees.
The recommendations made by the Department of Aviation, Jacobs said, include a large number of new food and retail locales throughout Atlanta’s airport and the international terminal.
Among the large food and beverage packages, she said, 10 of 17 sub-tenants are new, and many of the new restaurants are among the city’’s most well-known, such as The Varsity, Shane’s Rib Shack, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint and The Pecan.
The retail concessions are both familiar, and new high-end shops, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Omega, Bvlgari, Swarovski and Tommy Hilfiger, she explained.
The airport’s concessions program has even attracted the likes of popular GRAMMY-award winning artist and actor Ludacris, whose real name is Chris Bridges.
Ludacris will partner with Atlanta Restaurant Partners for a new airport concession concept entitled “Chicken N Beer,” an eatery stimulated by the music artist’s 2003 album of the same name, said spokeswoman Liz Lapidus, for Straits Atlanta, a restaurant co-owned by Ludacris. This concept is part of the new contracts recently approved by the Atlanta City Council.
Lapidus said Ludacris had been creating the concept with Atlanta Restaurant Partners for about a year. It will be located on Concourse D and will serve comfort food and craft beers, using locally grown ingredients, she said. Guests will enjoy a warm and inviting modern design.
The rapper recently announced that he will close Straits Atlanta, located in Midtown, and has new plans for that locale, said Lapidus. Ludacris opened the restaurant in 2008, with partner, Chris Yeo.
“As I continue to learn and evolve as a businessman, I am extremely excited to put my restaurateur footprint into a new venture inside the world’s busiest international airport,” said Ludacris, in a written statement.
“... Straits was a great segue into the industry, and with Chicken N Beer, I can create my own concept.”
Louis Miller, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson, said the procurement process has been the most transparent and open he has experienced in his more than 30 years in the aviation industry.
“We are pleased that our new concessions program has been approved, and we can move forward in providing our customers with an exciting array of new dining and retail options in the coming months,” he said.