NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Norfolk Airport Authority said several months ago that a hotel at Norfolk International Airport was among its priorities as part of its capital plan.

The airport authority took the next step toward that reality Wednesday, announcing that it had issued a request for proposals for the design, construction and operation of an onsite hotel within walking distance of the departures terminal.

“This addition will enhance ORF with an internationally-branded, full-service hotel with conveniences expected by airport patrons,” the airport said.

The RFP notes that the airport is seeking an internationally-branded, full-service, three-star or higher airport hotel near the existing terminal building. As part of the hotel, it is looking for it to have meeting spaces with conferencing technology, a restaurant and modern conveniences such as room service, 24-hour food and beverage access, a fitness center, sundries store and laundry facilities.

The airport would be sited on about 1.25 acres of land, in the current north, short-term parking lot within the existing loop road at the departure terminal’s north side. The authority notes that it “may be willing” to enter a license agreement with the developer to add garage/surface parking to accommodate hotel employees and guests.

Among the authority’s other objectives for an airport hotel would be “to maximize revenues to NAA (Norfolk Airport Authority),” have a distinct architectural look or theme consistent with and enhancing the current architecture of the terminal buildings and use alternative sources of energy to power it.

The authority said in the RFP that it is in the midst of a multiphase process to make improvements across the spectrum of the airport that will extend for several years, and it said it was including projects as part of its master plan that will “extend the useful life and value of the airport to meet the air transportation needs of the region over the next 20 years.”

The airport touts its ranking in the top 14% of airports in terms of passengers served, with over 4 million passengers and more than 65,000 flight operations in 2022, as well as being what it says is “one of the most powerful economic generators in the region. It generates, either directly or indirectly, more than 17,300 jobs with a $775 million payroll and a gross domestic product of more than $1.3 billion and a $2.2 billion total economic output in 2019.

In his first State of the Airport address to Norfolk City Council, airport executive director Mark Perryman said its existing infrastructure is being taxed faster than initially planned and noted that projects it had hoped to be finished within the next 10 years need to have an accelerated timeline. Besides a hotel, those projects included adding more gates, relocating its TSA checkpoint and a runway rehabilitation project.

“We need them now. Not 10 years, 12 years from now but now,” Perryman told City Council.

The airport hotel was highlighted as something the airport needed.

“We need an airport hotel,” Perryman said. “I can tell you we can sell this out on day one. There is that much demand for an airport hotel.”

He said in December that having such a hotel would keep flight crews from having to book rooms downtown and allow those with canceled flights to have a place to stay. It would also, he said, appeal to travelers who might be in the greater Hampton Roads region.

Perryman said then that an airport hotel would be financed solely by the developer.

A sketch he showed indicated a 150-room hotel could go on the spot that’s now occupied by public parking outside the Southwest and Delta ticket counters. He said then that parking could remain, with the hotel being built above it.

The Norfolk Airport Authority will accept qualification proposals for the design, construction and operation of an onsite hotel until 4 p.m. June 30, with a mandatory pre-proposal meeting to take place at 2 p.m. May 18 in the authority’s board room in the departures terminal near the human resources offices.