Tom Feran reports in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Commercial development is taking off inside Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

New businesses arrive almost weekly. The terminal is getting its biggest renovation in more than a decade.

Fresh paint and the removal of window obstructions have given a cleaner, brighter look even to areas under reconstruction.

When the makeover is finished, sometime next year, the airport’s retail and restaurant space will have almost doubled. Revenues are expected to be twice what they were.

Visitors will be able to pick from a mix of regional and national fare, from Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Panini’s to Dunkin’ Donuts and Obrycki’s Crab House and Seafood Restaurant. And they won’t have to pay more for a wider range of shopping choices.

The improvements should lure more passengers, said airport director Ricky Smith. The added revenue will reduce landing fees that Hopkins charges airlines, and the lower fees could attract carriers to schedule more flights.

“If it’s not the largest economic development project in the city now, it’s one of the largest,” Smith said.

“We think it’s going to be the first stage of transforming the airport, and there is not a larger or more significant economic driver.”

Visible changes began last year after the airport switched its contracts for shopping and dining concessions to BAA USA from HMS Host Inc., which held them for 20 years.

HMS owned and operated most of the restaurants and shops in the airport, including such franchise operations as Burger King, for which it has exclusive agreements.

Cleveland Plain Dealer