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Chick-fil-A, Chili’s on Tap for Clinton National Airport

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Chick-fil-A and Chili’s are coming to the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, pending approval by the airport’s commission.

The airport announced Tuesday that the two restaurants would open early next year as part of its concourse renovation. They would be operated by HMSHost of Bethesda, Maryland, and JQ Enterprises Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission must sign off on the deals, which are set to come before the commission on Feb. 21.

The airport’s $20.6 million concourse renovation includes remodeling its current food and beverage vendors — Starbucks, Great American Bagel and Burger King — along with improvements to gate seating, jet bridges, the Wi-Fi system and restrooms.

“These changes are another way that we’re improving the experience for our passengers,” said Jim Dailey, chairman of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission. “Travelers will be able to enjoy four major national brands, which isn’t typical for an airport of our size.”

Two new retail shops are also set to open, operated by Hudson Group of East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Newburns Management Group.

The new restaurants and shops are part of renewed deals with the companies that would run until 2028. The restaurant work would cost $3.5 million — $3 million from HMSHost and $500,000 from the airport commission. The work on the retail stores would cost $1.2 million, all paid by Hudson Group. The company will also make an additional $140,000 mid-term capital investment, according to the airport.

The renewal also outlines how much rent the companies would pay the airport. HMSHost would pay at least $597,000 per year; Hudson Group would pay at least $220,000. The airport would receive more if the restaurants and retailers exceed certain gross revenue percentages.

More: View the contract extension documents here.

The airport announced the concourse renovation last year. The debt-free airport will pay for the project through retained earnings and reimbursements from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Passenger Facility Chart Program.

The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission has invested nearly $90 million in terminal enhancements, including the planned concourse renovations, over the past six years.

Construction on concourse renovations have taken place mostly at night and during off-peak travel times. The project was put on hold during the busy holiday season and resumed last month.

The architect for the project is Alliiance of Minneapolis. The contractor is Flynco Inc. of Little Rock. 

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