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HOK and Hensel Phelps Lead Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s North Main Terminal Modernization

The SEA Gateway Project, a transformation of a key part of the terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, aims to accommodate increased passenger demand while elevating the travel experience at this Pacific Northwest hub.

HOK and general contractor Hensel Phelps, in partnership with Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle, are leading the modernization of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s north main terminal. The project will rejuvenate the 40-year-old check-in lobby and the existing promenade, creating an inviting and efficient space. An expansion of the security checkpoint will accelerate processing, and upgrades to the baggage handling system will improve speed and reliability. Introducing state-of-the-art technology and new electrical, mechanical, plumbing and structural elements will also improve the airport’s functionality and passenger convenience.

The SEA Gateway Project builds on HOK’s visioning studies with the airport in 2020. These studies generated a clear roadmap for streamlining operational efficiencies and consolidating airport services.

“We are excited to partner with Hensel Phelps to reimagine the journey of Alaska Airlines’ customers at Seattle-Tacoma,” said Todd Buchanan, HOK’s principal-in-charge on the project. “From the curbside through security and to baggage claim, the design will increase passenger throughput and enhance the overall travel experience.”

The new design will introduce a modern, open space with ample daylight, reflecting the Pacific Northwest’s stunning natural landscape. The terminal will offer travelers more check-in options, including bag tag stations, self-service bag drops and a bridge-level check-in area. Innovative technology will increase capacity and streamline operations, while intuitive wayfinding and strategic use of lighting will improve passenger flow.

HOK’s design approach prioritizes sustainability, incorporating environmental, cost and social implications. This aligns with the Port of Seattle’s ambitious sustainability goals of reducing GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The SEA Gateway Project is set to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Construction will occur in multiple phases to minimize disruptions to current airport operations. With the first phase of construction already in progress and the second phase of design nearing completion, the renovated terminal is expected to be fully operational by 2026.

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