photo of SAN cargo facilities headquarters


San Diego Airport’s First Public Private Partnership

Line Graphic

AFCO developed an efficient and environmentally friendly, mission critical Centralized Receiving and Distribution Center (CRDC) on time and under budget, using an innovative credit-tenant lease structure.

“Not only does the RDC bring significant efficiency and security benefits, but it is yet another example of the airport’s commitment to sustainability. The RDC will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water and energy consumption through a number of innovative measures.”


The San Diego International Airport (SAN) needed a new CRDC to support concession operations as part of a major terminal development program at the airport. The CRDC project provided significant efficiency and security benefits by centralizing the distribution of food, beverage and other goods at the airport and reduced traffic on surrounding roadways, reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions.

This was the first public-private partnership for SAN and AFCO was awarded the project in June 2011 after a competitive RFQ and RFP process. AFCO broke ground on the project in February 2012 and completed construction of the 23,000 square-foot facility 9 months later in November 2012, on-time and on-budget.

AFCO understood the critical nature of this project, as the rest of the terminal was due to come online. Using an innovative integrated program delivery methodology, AFCO could fast track the project in a way that a traditional public works construction model cannot. Our effective use of collaboration, coordination, cooperation and communication led the success of the CRDC project. We developed critically important relationships and built trust with the airport stakeholders, which ultimately led to the AFCO being awarded another project at SAN to finance and develop new cargo facilities at the airport.



AFCO was able fast track the entire project, delivering an entirely new CRDC facility in just 9 months after breaking ground.

Improved Rent Structure

Our innovative credit-tenant lease structure, streamlined procurement and development processes as a private entity, and the very low cost of financing allows us to build a more cost effective structure with lower rent for the tenants.

Bond Capacity Untapped – SAN granted AFCO a ground lease for this project, allowing us to privately finance and develop the project. This leaves the airport’s bonding capacity for other uses.

Environmental Stewardship

While the project required basic Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, AFCO’s was able to achieve the world’s first LEED Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council for a receiving and distribution facility. Notable features include:

  • More than 95% of construction waste produced by the project was recycled or salvaged
  • 29% of the CRDC’s building materials are recycled
  • solar hot water system
  • water-efficient plumbing fixtures to use 40% less potable water
  • drought-tolerant landscaping that requires no permanent irrigation – combined with
  • other water-saving efforts – reduces the facility’s water consumption by 54%
  • skylights that reduced the need for energy-consuming artificial lighting
  • heat-reflecting roofing and landscaping materials

Improved Safety

AFCO’s integrated central receiving and distribution facility resulted in less traffic on passenger roadways around the airport with 50-75 fewer truck trips per day due to the efficiencies created in this facility.

Faster Security

The facility has reduced wait times at security check points as the goods going to the secure side of the airport have already pre-cleared at our facility.

Our partnership with the San Diego Airport has provided a cost effective and environmentally friendly solution that allowed airport personal to focus on larger and more public developments such as its new terminal projects.