Relaxing in a $4 Million Lounge Under the Dulles Control Tower Could Become a Reality

Apr 20, 2019

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AvGeeks could one day get a new vantage point for plane spotting from the observation deck of the historic control tower at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) — if the right developer comes along.

Under a new proposal outlined in a recent report from the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), the airport authority is looking for a company to turn the under-utilized space beneath the control tower at Dulles into a lounge with access to the historic tower’s observation deck, as reported by View from the Wing.


Proposed Location. Image by MWAA.
Proposed Location. Image by MWAA.


Creation of the lounge would require around a $4-million investment from whichever group decides to take over the space, which is 9,100 square feet — on the small side for most airport lounges. The price tag is a whopping $440 per square foot. The report says the space must be fully renovated before it can be occupied, including installation of new utilities, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

A glimpse at the what it would cost to build the lounge offers a little insight into why frequent flyers — who don’t have a credit card that includes lounge access — pay such high annual fees for lounge access: The airport is offering the space for lease and expects a minimum annual guarantee of $925,000 for the first year, increasing by 3% each year of the 10-year lease. This means rent on the space will be pushing a minimum of $1.25 million after the first decade. This minimum is met by the airport being paid 10% of the gross lounge receipts, meaning the cost for the space could be much higher.


Dulles Tower Lounge Internal Floor Plan. Image by MWAA.
Dulles Tower Lounge Internal Floor Plan. Image by MWAA.

It’s unknown if any company is willing to make the investment to renovate the rather small space. Construction will also be subject to approval by the Virginia Historical Society, due to the historic nature of the structure itself, adding yet another complication to the project. For now, it’s wait and see if anyone is going to jump at the chance to offer this unique space to the traveling public. As Dulles could really use another lounge, whether it be an Amex Centurion Lounge or something offered by Priority Pass, we’re hoping someone is willing to take on the project.

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Featured Photo by Getty Images.

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