Pittsburgh International Airport settles a 14-month dispute with an evicted air mall for $10.5 million, ending the legal saga.
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Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh International Airport, renowned as one of the country’s top facilities, has reached a $10.5 million settlement with an air mall it evicted last year.
The saga, which had seen the airport and the mall at loggerheads for over a year, now concludes with this settlement.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority board took action last year by evicting the mall’s tenants.
The eviction was because the mall’s owners had defaulted on their agreement.
Initially, the airport board proposed a $5.5 million offer to purchase the remainder of the mall’s lease.
This proposal sparked the 14-month litigation. While the mall operators had set their claim at $20 million, the final settlement figure is $10.5 million.
The structure of this payment, whether as a lump sum or staggered over time, remains undisclosed.
Aside from the settlement with the mall, the airport also shoulders an additional financial responsibility.
Legal services rendered during the case by the airport’s legal firm will cost them $1.1 million.
The Way Forward
While this case sees closure, there is another pending decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
This concerns the mall operators’ plea to retain their managerial rights over the mall.
Jeffrey Letwin, the authority solicitor, commented on the resolution.
“The settlement — $10.5 million — is in the best interest of both parties. We are optimistic about enhancing the PIT experience for passengers in both the current and upcoming terminals slated for 2025,” he said.
Sabine Trenk, CEO of Fraport USA, which operates the mall, expressed her satisfaction with the settlement’s outcome.
Both parties have clarified that the settlement should not be interpreted as an acknowledgment of wrongdoing by either side.
Future Airport Concessions and Concerns
All airport concessions will now come under the management of the Airport Authority.
Additionally, the Authority has confirmed it will not proceed with its case in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
One contentious issue brought up by the airport was the alleged abandonment by mall operators of a restaurant.
The establishment was conveniently located, offering alcohol and metal utensils that posed potential security threats.
In defense, Fraport refuted the claim, suggesting the airport’s intent might be finding a way out of their lease, effective until 2029.
Notably, the air mall has always been a favorite for travelers.
Owing to Pennsylvania’s state law, the mall has always maintained its prices at par with off-airport establishments.
The airport spokesperson clarified that this pricing alignment will persist and was never a contested point in the lawsuit.