San Diego International Airport secures final new Terminal 1 concessions

By Simon Warburton |

Liberty Station gift shop at San Diego Airport

Liberty Station at SAN is one of the many companies to be awarded concessions in an ambitious revamp of the new T1.

San Diego International Airport (SAN) says its new Terminal 1 will feature restaurants and shops that “look, feel, and taste” like its home city.

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board has approved the final group of new T1 concession leases for restaurants and retail shops offering a mix of local, regional and some national brands.

The first concession lease was approved by the Board in early June, while a total of six concessions operators will open 19 restaurants and seven retail stores in the new T1.

The first phase (19 gates) is slated to open in 2025 and the remaining 11 in early 2028.

San Diegans will be familiar with many brands

The concessions operators selected to fill the 32,000sq ft space for food and beverage as well as 14,000sq ft convenience retail space are: High Flying Foods; Areas San JV; Paradies Lagardère; Marshall Retail Group; Emerging Domestic Market Ventures and McDonald’s USA, which represent brands and concepts many of which are well-known to San Diegans.

Food and Beverage: Kettner Exchange; Puesto; Mostra Coffee; Parakeet Café; Better Buzz; Cutwater Restaurant & Bar; Lofty Coffee; Understory Bar & Restaurant; Novo Brewing; El Pez; Taco Stand; Ambrosio 15; Herb & Air; SIP Wine & Beer; Novecientos Grados – A Tony Hawk Public House; Luna Grill; Mr Moto Pizza; Carnitas Snack Shack; Grab & Go Subs; Café Moto Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s.

Retail, Convenience and Gifts: Gaslamp Marketplace; Hip & Humble; SAN Supply Co and Goods Express @ SAN; Goods Univision Travel Store; No Boundaries; The Commissary; InMotion; WHSmith; Liberty Station and The Arts District Market.

Univision Travel Shop at San Diego International Airport

Univision Travel Shop at SAN. The travel essential store offers accessories such as beverages, HBA items and souvenirs.

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority CEO and President Kimberly Becker said: “We were extremely impressed with all the proposals for restaurants and retail shops we received.

“Proposers were required to meet specific concept, design and operational criteria that will help SAN offer our customers a wide selection of regional and national brands. We were pleased all of the proposals were competitive and compelling.”

When selecting the concessionaires, the airport looked for a variety of local, regional, and national names.

It also took into consideration financial capability and experience, concept development, unit location design, materials and capital, environmental sustainability, small business inclusion and customer service.

Restaurants were required to offer menu options to meet customer needs for full-service casual dining, quick service, gourmet coffee/bakery and bars with starter plates.

Four of the six concessionaire operators selected are new to the airport authority, with two of them, High Flying Foods and Paradies Lagardere@SAN, having existing leases for restaurant and retail space.

San Diego is one of the busiest single-runway airports in the world

All operators will have ACDBE-certified (Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) business participation through either joint-venture partnerships, subleases, or vendor/suppliers.

Two leases will be assigned to, or operated by, an ACDBE prime concessionaire.

The Commissary outlet at San Diego International Airport

The Commissary concession at San Diego International Airport.

San Diego International Airport is one of the busiest single-runway commercial service airports in the world and the third-busiest in California.

SAN contributes nearly $12 billion in economic activity for the region and in November, 2021, the Airport Authority started construction on the new T1, which includes replacing the current Terminal 1, improvements to the airfield, improved transportation connectivity to the airport and a new administration building.

The new T1 programme’s total project budget is $3.4 billion and is estimated to create between 15,000 to 20,000 construction-related jobs.

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