Sky Talk

Open workspaces, bike trails part of American Airlines headquarters design

A town square, bike trails and two green parking garages are some of the amenities American Airlines has planned for its new headquarters.

The Fort Worth-based carrier unveiled architectural drawings to its employees Friday. The 1.8 million-square-foot complex, currently under construction on the west side of Texas 360 and north of Trinity Boulevard, will cost at least $300 million to build and will house over 6,500 employees.

Dubbed the “Trinity complex,” American plans to build four seven-story buildings that are connected on the south side of the site and a fifth building to the north. The buildings will feature open common areas with lots of natural light. A town square with workstations, the company credit union and a dining area will connect the four buildings and lead to a large walkway connecting it to other parts of the corporate campus.

“One of the primary objectives of this project is to connect our employees better,” said Tim Skipworth, American’s vice president of airport affairs and facilities. “We’re building a new ‘American Way,’ which will be a greenway which will link these buildings across a bridge over the ponds.”

The Trinity complex is adjacent to the carrier’s flight academy, training center, reservations center and the new integrated operations center, which opened in 2015. Skipworth said it was important to create walking paths, bike trails and cart paths to allow employees to easily get from building to building.

American expects to move employees into the new Trinity complex by the fall of 2019, about a year later than originally planned. Skipworth said it took longer to clear the site after it demolished the old buildings last June, as American wanted to protect waterways and as many trees as possible. The company has saved over 40 mature trees — creating a mini tree farm on the construction site — that it plans to replant around the Trinity complex.

The 300-acre site, where American’s headquarters was first located when the company moved from New York almost four decades ago, will be named after retired chairman and chief executive Robert Crandall. American received a 15-year, $21.25 million tax incentive from the city of Fort Worth for the project.

“As a Fort Worth-based company, our largest employer and the world’s largest airline, we couldn’t be more thrilled for this expansion in our community and what that will mean for American Airlines,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in a statement. “Being able to connect all of the 75,000 team members in one place at this new campus will allow for even greater coordination of this global operation.”

Following its merger with US Airways, American increased the number of employees at its headquarters in Fort Worth, currently located along Amon Carter Boulevard on the east side of Texas 360, and had to lease two additional office buildings. Once the Trinity complex is completed, the carrier will be able to move employees from those leased buildings to the new campus.

Crescent Real Estate Holdings is the developer of the project for American, helping the airline to manage the general contractors, Austin Commercial and Holder Construction, through construction of the Trinity complex.

“The new Trinity complex will enhance American’s presence, as well as support American Airlines’ commitment to excellence and better serve the airline’s operations,” said Crescent Real Estate chairman John Goff in a statement.

American also recently completed renovations on its Fort Worth reservations center, which is the carrier’s largest call center. It is also building new simulation training bays at its flight academy to expand the number of the flight simulators for pilot training.

“The Trinity complex, where we’ll move a lot of management people, is just a small piece of a much bigger project called the ‘One Campus, One Team’ project,” Skipworth said, adding that American plans to renovate and expand its “Lodge.”

The Lodge, which is near the Trinity complex, is a 299-room hotel that opened in 1958 as a place for pilots, flight attendants and other American employees stay when they come to Fort Worth for training and meetings.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk