Although all the details of the "Aeropolis" project, which will be developed in the 300 hectares that Tocumen bought for $109 million from the University of Panama, are not yet known, the number of companies interested in setting up in the airport city increases each month.
Up until the end of 2011, seven hotel chains had come forward as well as a health company and at least three companies with experience in managing shopping centers, the manager of Tocumen, SA, Juan Carlos Pino, confirmed. Among the hotel chains that have expressed interest in establishing themselves in the area are Decameron, Hilton, Sheraton and Marriott.
In the case of the hospital, Pino said that in recent years medical tourism has had a significant increase in the country. A business and convention center is also planned to be built as well as storage areas.
Negotiations between Tocumen, SA and the University of Panama are in its final stage, being the demarcation of the land the last thing to be negotiated. Pino said that the government, in this case Tocumen, SA, will invest to condition the land with the installation of basic services (access, energy, drinking water, telecommunications) and then will concession to the private sector the construction sites for periods of 20, 30, and 40 years, depending on the activity to be installed in the area.
“The administration decided to venture into this project because the rent and concession of the areas represent an important source of revenue from the terminal, as happens today with the duty free,” the manager of Tocumen, SA said. “In order to improve the entrance and exit to the airport, the project also includes a new access from the Corredor Sur, which will facilitate the entry of the new extension as well as the current terminal.
In the case of the south terminal, the increment in the number of passengers, who every year pass through Tocumen (6 million 2011), was the trigger for the administration to advance the work of expansion in the passenger terminal.
In the master plan, the construction of the South Dock—a replica of North Dock—is contemplated to start in 2012, while the South Terminal, a new building which will have its own Immigration and Custom facilities, is contemplated to start in 2015.
Now, two projects will be united in one contract, representing an investment of $300(Aeropolis) and $350 (South Dock and Terminal) million. In addition to the construction of the new terminal, parking spaces will be created and the Tocuman’s riverbed will be modified.
The new terminal will have 25 boarding gates and give the necessary capacity to manage 15 million passengers maximum