It's been almost a year since Los Angeles airport officials selected the property management group that will oversee dozens of new shops and restaurants at LAX's expanded Tom Bradley International Terminal.
But Westfield Concession Management has kept the retailers' names under wraps while crews work on the massive structure taking shape at Los Angeles International Airport - until Wednesday.
That's when company officials, with LAX and L.A. city leaders, unveiled what's to come during a morning media event where attendees walked down a red carpet leading into the airport's Flight Path Learning Center on Imperial Highway.
Music played in the background as baristas at an espresso bar run by LAMill Coffee - one of the new Bradley Terminal vendors - handed out lattes to guests, who could peruse renderings of the terminal's spacious interior. And nearby was a banner announcing the names of dozens of incoming tenants, serving as a backdrop for photos.
The new retailers, many of them upscale, include Michael Kors, Fred Segal, Coach, Emporio Armani and Bvlgari.
And in terms of food, travelers will get to choose from among a variety of new sit-down, casual and "grab and go" dining options - including some L.A. favorites. Restaurants leasing space at the expanded terminal - the first phase should open next spring - include Umami Burger, Border Grill, 800 Degrees, Larder at Tavern, Chaya Sushi, Short Cake, James Beach and Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar. A Starbucks Evenings - one of the first to open in the country - will offer coffee during the day and wine and beer in the evening.
In all, the Bradley Terminal will boast about 60 new shops and restaurants - 22 of them L.A. brands, and 42 of them new to LAX - once the $1.5 billion expansion effort is complete, airport officials said.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the changes in the works at the airport, which hasn't experienced a major face-lift since the Bradley Terminal was built for the 1984 Olympics. The expanded terminal will cover 2 million square feet - double the size of the existing one.
"LAX, when it comes to airports, these are some of the most recognized letters not just in the country, but the world," Villaraigosa said. "But let's be honest, (it is) an icon with some rough edges."
The influx of new retailers, particularly the restaurants, should offer travelers a memorable experience. "We wanted an airport that was
Westfield's Peter Lowy, co-chief executive officer, said known L.A. brands such as Fred Segal boutique and the celebrity hot spot Kitson - along with the local eateries in the lineup - will help visitors capture the "flavor of the city."
Lowy played a video that showcased the terminal's sleek and spacious interior, which will include various dining terraces and lounges and stores with glass facades.
Afterward, a collection of chefs who will soon open shop inside the terminal posed together for a photo.
And then it was time for the food.
Servers circulated through the museum carrying trays loaded with drinks, parfaits, nuggets of french toast, bites of salmon topped with caviar and more.
Officials said the Bradley terminal expansion project - the largest public works project in the city's history - is part of a $4.1 billion LAX modernization program. The Bradley Terminal project alone is expected to support nearly 4,000 construction-related jobs and 1,700 permanent concession-related jobs.
Its first phase includes a Great Hall and boarding gates on the west side of the terminal, while the second phase - expected to be complete by 2014 - includes new east-side terminal gates, a new federal screening area and upgraded customs arrival area.
Westfield also has been awarded management contracts for LAX Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 6, along with the Theme Building.
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The lineup of restaurants unveiled Wednesday for the Tom Bradley Terminal includes:
ink.sack by Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, Border Grill by "Top Chef Masters" duo Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Umami Burger, LAMill Coffee boutique, Larder at Tavern, 800 Degrees, III Forks, Chaya sushi, Lucky Fish, Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar, Vino Volo, Short Cake, Vanilla Bake Shop, James Beach, Starbucks Evenings, Cantina Laredo, Marmalade Cafe, Pinkberry, Starbucks Coffee, Drink.LA, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Scoreboard LA, Panda Express, 7-Eleven, See's Candies and The Bead Factory.
Other incoming shops and retailers include:
Bvlgari, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, Fred Segal, Kitson, Coach, Porsche Design, Tumi, Victoria's Secret, Hugo Boss, iStore Boutique, Bliss, Sanrio Surprises, The Bead Factory, Virgin Mobile/Boost Mobile and Xpress Spa.