The Mayor Sends a Note About Why Dallas Should Love New Love Field Concessions Plan

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Late last night, after a long day sluggin' it out with the council (Carolyn Davis especially) over those Love Field concessions contracts, Mayor Tom Leppert sent out a conciliatory congratulations e-blast with the subject header "Love Field decision will benefit Dallas." The decision, for those who missed it: The city will put all the concession spaces at Love Field out for bid, giving incumbents Hudson Retail and Star Concessions first dibs on all proposals. Hudson and Star, whose contracts at Love expire in 11 months have 30 days to say whether or not they're sticking around during airport construction, expected to last through 2014ish; if they're not, the city will put out requests for proposals pronto in order to fill the space during the Love Field Modernization Program redo.

Before the final vote was taken Wednesday evening, Leppert called it "one of the most important decisions we've made." He reiterated that in his e-mail, which follows in full. First, though, this excerpt:
While this has certainly been a controversial issue, I am confident my Council colleagues are as determined as I am to moving our city forward. We all care deeply about this city and understand there are challenges and opportunities ahead. I want to thank my Council colleagues for their passion and their commitment to their constituents. I am confident we will come together to do what is right for Dallas.

Dallas Love Field faces a bright future. Once the Wright Amendment restrictions are lifted, we will see it become the origination point for non-stop flights around the country and the home of a new showcase terminal for visitors and locals alike.
There are still myriad details to work through -- among them, how will the city package the 43 spaces (26 for food and beverage sales; 17 for retail), and who will oversee management of the concessionaires (Austin's airport, I hope, though ... doubtful)? And: Will Gilbert Aranza and Rep. Helen Giddings tell the city thanks-but-no? Sure, it's over. But it's not over.
Friends:

Today, the Dallas City Council decided to move forward with an open and competitive bid process for the concession contracts in the new terminal at Dallas Love Field.

This is a promising step for Love Field, for Dallas taxpayers and for our city.

The option the Council chose today provides for open and transparent bidding, which will provide the best deals for our city. It ensures we get the best concession concepts for our new terminal. It also provides for prices comparable to what one would pay at similar concessions outside the airport. This inclusion of "street pricing" should help keep our airport concessions affordable.

It also includes incentives for the current concessionaires to stay throughout the construction in the old terminal, as well as opportunities for them to participate substantially in the new terminal. We all hope they choose to stay involved at Love Field.

Even more promising are the many additional opportunities that will now be available to local firms and small businesses -- especially those owned by minorities and women. We are all firmly committed to making this happen.

While this has certainly been a controversial issue, I am confident my Council colleagues are as determined as I am to moving our city forward. We all care deeply about this city and understand there are challenges and opportunities ahead. I want to thank my Council colleagues for their passion and their commitment to their constituents. I am confident we will come together to do what is right for Dallas.

Dallas Love Field faces a bright future. Once the Wright Amendment restrictions are lifted, we will see it become the origination point for non-stop flights around the country and the home of a new showcase terminal for visitors and locals alike.

Love Field will prove to be a new economic engine for our city and a draw for businesses considering a move to Dallas. It will be a shining example of the type of facility that serves a world class city that is diverse and full of opportunity for all.

I'm excited about what is ahead for Dallas, and am proud to work with a City Council as committed to its future as I am.

Sincerely,

Tom
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