Sundt Construction Inc. and Dallas-based Austin Commercial have begun work on a $180 million rental car center at San Diego International Airport.

The joint venture is serving as construction manager at risk for the project, aimed at shifting airport rental car facilities to a centralized location on the north side of Lindbergh Field. Design and preconstruction work are under way with project architect Demattei Wong, with construction scheduled to start in May 2013 and conclude in July 2015, according to Sundt Construction.

“This project is the first major component of the airport’s long-range plan to reduce airport traffic congestion and bring passengers closer to Interstate 5 and commuter rail lines,” Sundt Senior Vice President Jon Wald said in a statement. “The facility also will help improve air quality by removing multiple shuttle vans from the streets and will simplify the trip to and from a single, centralized rental car lot for passengers.”

Car rental agencies are currently spread along Pacific Coast Highway and Harbor Drive, each providing its own shuttle services. Funding for the rental center project stems from a California law passed in 2010, enabling airports to increase fees assessed on car rental agencies to help finance rental car centers.

Arizona-based Sundt has a regional office in San Diego and is currently at work with joint-venture partner Kiewit on the final construction stages of a $227 million land-side expansion of the airport’s Terminal 2. The airport is in the midst of a larger $1 billion green-build renovation and expansion, set for completion next year.

--SDBJ Staff Report