Originally built in 1954, it was renovated once in 1984 and closed for the past 11 years. This $383 million renovation strives to be a state-of-the-art building.
The Gensler Architects aimed for creating a comfortable, relaxing environment that brings back some of the former romance of air travel. Lead designer Terence Young said he was inspired by grand public spaces like fine hotels and museums, and there's a serious, practical benefit to that as well.
"In an airport environment, if people are comfortable and relaxed, in a safer environment, it's easier to identify threats when the population is relaxed and comfortable," he said.
There is an emphasis on sustainability -- hydration stations for re-filling water bottles rather than buying new ones. Concessions will focus on local foods, slow food and use all compostable plates and utensils.
There are family-friendly features as well -- baby changing tables in the men's restrooms and two children's play areas.
The security screening area has a removable floor to easily accommodate the TSA's changing equipment needs.
"Constantly what you have to do with the TSA -- they're always changing anc actually will not commit to a final layout until six months before we're open... they have committed," project manager Ray Quezada said.
There are a total of 14 gates and Virgin America will split them with American Airlines. Virgin America CEO David Cush promises the airline will use them all and will grow from its current 35 flights to 70 in a few years.
"Really, the magic number about 70, we have seven gates here. We can run 10 flights a day out of each gate, so that really talks about how much we can grow at this facility," he said.
The terminal's exterior clouds and seagull mural is done and a free public open house is planned for April 9.