August 6, 2018
By Will Robinson, Reporter
Jacksonville Business Journal
he Jacksonville Aviation Authority unanimously approved Monday a contract to develop a premium lounge at Jacksonville International Airport. Unlike Delta's existing VIP lounge, this lounge would be available to customers from multiple airlines and customers who pay for a day pass.
"I think we'd be the smallest airport in the country with two VIP lounges," JAA CEO Steve Grossman told the board.
The Club JAX will open February 2019. The 2,726-square-ft. facility will feature a buffet with menus from local chefs, as well as ample seating, two restrooms with showers and a children's play area with video games, TV and books.
Texas-based ALD Development Corporation will spend at least $1 million to develop, manage and operate the 49-guest lounge. The company is the nation's largest independent shared-use lounge developer and maintains a network of 18 airport lounges in 13 airports worldwide.
The lounge can be frequented by first-class passengers as a part of airline and card member rewards programs, though none have been identified for JIA yet, ALD staff told the board. The lounge will also sell day passes.
"We are very confident this will be a busy lounge even without Frontier, JetBlue or Allegiant," said Graham Richards, ALD's director of strategic network development, referring to airlines who don't yet have lounge reward programs.
JAA will receive a percentage of revenue from the lounge or $80,000 during the first contract year, whichever is higher, over a seven year contract with yearly renewal options.
In the same meeting, the board chose local consultant ADK Consulting to find JAA's next CEO after Grossman retires at the end of the year and approved a $1.8 million matching grant from Space Florida for a Space Operations Control Center, Payload Preparation Facility and Rocket Motor Testing Facility at Cecil Spaceport.