GroundBreaking Begins For Hollywood Burbank Airport Replacement Terminal Known as Elevate BUR

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Tractors, Land Movers at work at Burbank Airport preparing for replacement terminal. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On Thursday, January 25th, a historical moment for Burbank took place as the City celebrated the groundbreaking of the Hollywood Burbank Airport’s replacement passenger terminal.  The updated terminal, known as Elevate BUR, will offer a safer, modern, and more convenient facility at the airport.

The airport has been in operation since 1930 and covers 232,000 square feet with 14 gates.  In 2016, Burbank voters approved Measure B, putting the City of Burbank and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (BGPAA) in an agreement to build a 14-gate replacement terminal covering 355,000 square feet.

Hollywood Burbank Airport Executive Director Frank Miller speaks during groundbreaking event. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

The Hollywood Burbank Airport has eight carriers that fly 6 million passengers annually and provides more than 12,000 jobs, generating $2 billion in economic impact for Southern California. “Not only are we serving Southern California, but BUR was also named Best Airport in the United States by Voter’s Travel. So, first the United States next the universe,” said BGPAA President, Felicia Williams. “From the friendly staff, to the airlines, to the convenience, BUR is the gem of our community. BUR has weathered the pandemic storm and it’s clear skies ahead, hopefully with some tail winds.”

Currently, the Hollywood Burbank Airport passenger terminal does not meet FAA safety standards when it comes to runway separation, lacks design and efficiency, and isn’t current with state building requirements.  The new terminal will continue to keep the the same convenience of air travel that passengers enjoy while upgrading the shopping and dining experience, restrooms, allowing for more space, a new ticketing lobby, baggage screening and TSA checkpoint.

The budget for the project is estimated to be at $1,248,700,000, none of which will come from state, county or local funds from the Tri-cities (Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena).  The upgraded design is titled “Icon” and pays homage to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and film industry’s roots. The terminal is also committed to sustainability and is designed to reduce the airport’s overall emissions and achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification.

“Many Building Trades Union members live in these cities. Now they’ll have a chance to build the airport that serves their families and their communities,” said Ernesto Medrano, Los Angeles/Orange County Building & Construction Trades AFL-CIO. “We are opening the pipeline to quality union jobs for all communities of Southern California and even to folks who have had barriers of employment before…The Building Trades are proud to bring our high quality local members to do this challenging work and we can’t wait to start.”

Burbank’s Commissionaires L/R Jess Talamantes, Emily Gabel-Luddy, Frank Miller Executive Director, and Robert Ovrum. (© Ross A Benson)

The groundbreaking event brought in many guests including Burbank City Council Members, City staff, Burbank Chamber board members, and the BGPAA commissioners and staff. Representing Burbank on the BGPAA is Secretary Jess Talamantes, and Commissioners Emily Gabel-Luddy and Robert “Bud” Ovrom. The Groundbreaking ceremony consisted of many speakers close to the project including President Williams, Medrano, Airport Executive Director Frank Williams, Steve Sisneros of Southwest Airlines, and many more.

After the ceremony, the commissioners and staff put on white hard hats and scooped up dirt with their golden shovels to signify the breaking of ground of this project, which is estimated to be complete in October of 2026. Trucks and tractors were already busy at work, leveling the ground and clearing the area of trees and brush, which began at 4 a.m. for Groundbreaking day.

To see our Instagram video reel from the Groundbreaking Event click here, for more information on the project and event you can watch our YouTube video here.