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This week, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) celebrated the grand opening of the $1.73 billion West Gates building adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The opening was broadcast live on social media Monday.

The new facility boasts 15 gates among its 750,000 square feet, as well as new options for shopping and dining, plus charging stations, children’s play areas and pet relief space. The construction is part of a $14.5 billion modernization effort by LAX and LAWA that will see continued upgrades to the airport, as well as the addition of a new train system, in coming years.

“Today… we deliver the first of many elements of our $14.5 billion promise for a better LAX,” Justin Erbacci, CEO of LAWA, said at the event. “These beautiful, technologically advanced West Gates were designed and built to make the passenger journey more efficient and more comfortable. In the next months, we also will be opening Terminal 1.5, the Intermodal Transportation Facility West and the Airport Facility. And in just a couple of years, we will revolutionize how people get to, from and around the airport with our automated people-mover train and our consolidated rental car facility.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also spoke at the event, emphasizing the importance of investment in infrastructure as the country begins to recover from the pandemic and get back to travel.

“This is the newest and best facility we have, period,” Garcetti said. “For folks who wonder, this [facility] is smoother, better, newer, shinier – you can smell that new-car smell still here. Together with LA Tourism, we’re investing in bringing people back here. If you’re vaccinated anywhere in the world, come to LA. You can come without quarantine. …This is the time to come to LA.”