The U.S. Virgin Islands Port Authority hselected VIports Partners, a consortium led by Toronto-based Aecon Group Inc., for a public-private partnership that will redevelop terminals at two airports. The P3 team will also maintain and operate the airports, Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas and Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix, for 40 years.

Officials and the companies have not shared financial terms of the deal, but Carlton Dowe, executive director of the port authority, said during an event April 5 that the projects at both airports would together cost “hundreds of millions of dollars.” A financial close is expected in early 2025, according to Aecon. VIports will be responsible for financing the terminal projects.

“We’re not asking the taxpayers of this community to bear the burden of finding the money to do this project,” Dowe said. “We are using private money to do a major public good.”

The P3 contract includes a long-term lease and development agreement for the terminal facilities and an operation and maintenance agreement for airfield and landside operations. The existing terminal at King is 250,000 sq ft and the terminal at Rohlsen is 148,500 sq ft.

Dowe said they expect construction to start at both airports around the same time next year, and work is expected to complete by the end of 2026. 

The VIports consortium includes a construction joint venture with Consigli Construction and local partner J. Benton Construction, with Aecon as design-build lead. Corgan Associates Inc. is the terminal architect, AvPorts LLC is the airport operator and Aecon’s equity partner is Tikehau Star Infra. The team says it is already working with local suppliers and subcontractors. 

Aecon, which ranks No. 91 on ENR’s 2023 Top Global Contractors list, is also part of another P3 that redeveloped and is operating L.F. Wade International Airport in Bermuda.

Steve Nackan, president of Aecon Concessions, said the Virgin Islands terminal projects will improve capacity, modernize amenities and enhance the airports’ resilience and sustainability. 

“Your airports are mission critical infrastructure, their modernization and resilience being key to everyday life here and their redevelopment being vital to the territory’s economic revitalization,” he said. 

The port authority selected VIports over one other proposal. Last year, officials said they shortlisted four teams after eight responded to a request for qualifications. The other shortlisted teams included daa international, Vantage Airport Group Ltd. and Vinci Airports. The port authority’s board voted to approve VIports for the P3 during a March 26 meeting.