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June 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Port Commission approves a McDonald’s at the airport

Travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will soon be able to have a Big Mac. The Port of Seattle commission voted Tuesday 4-1 to approve a McDonald’s franchise in a long-vacant space in the main terminal. In March, the commission delayed a decision about the fast food giant after a long and confessional meeting.

The commissioners had misgivings about McDonald’s for all kinds of reasons, and Port staff spent the past two months trying to make the process more competitive by asking similar burger joints if they wanted a shot at it. Dairy Queen and Burger King turned them down, and Wendy’s already has a space at the airport.

The main hang-up for several commissioners was a desire to offer more airport space to minority and women-owned businesses. Commissioner Rob Holland said he was willing to vote for McDonald’s if the Port followed through on re-working its minority-owned business program.

The restaurant will pay about $323,000 a year to the Port once  it opens in early 2013, according to Port estimates. Plus, the McDonald’s Corp. has offered to do about $2 million in upgrades to the space, which is near the children’s play area and used to be a Chinese restaurant.

Commission President Gael Tarleton was the lone “no” vote. She said she thought the Port should have sought a more competitive process “so that everyone would have a shot at those jobs.”

Comments | More in General news, Politics | Topics: McDonalds, Port Commission, SeaTac

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