Tampa International Airport bringing in new restaurants

Tampa International Airport file photo

Tampa International Airport is bringing in new places to eat and shop as part of a $1 billion renovation project.

“Everything that is in the airport that you see now is going away. Some of those businesses are coming back in a different form,” spokeswoman Emily Nipps said.

Bloomin Brands, which owns homegrown restaurants Outback and Carrabba’s is being moved out. “Sometimes when you get too big you lose your local identity, and I think our choices with TPA gives us our best foot forward,” Hillsborough County Aviation Board member Victor Crist said.

On the other hand, there will be a 25 percent increase in the number of smaller, locally owned businesses at the airport. You’ll see PDQ, Cigar City Brewing and the Columbia restaurant, creating more of a Tampa atmosphere.

“It is not just going to taste like Tampa, but the design is very Tampa centric. We are going to have pirate ships. Four Green Fields is going to have that thatch roof. That was another thing the selection committee looked at,” Nipps said.

Critics said the selection committee didn’t award any prime contracts to minorities.

The construction on the new shops and restaurants will start next month but is not expected to be finished until 2017.

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