PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Port Canaveral has been busy in 2013 with
4 million cruise passengers already this year, but port officials said there's enough demand to double the load in the next 10-15 years.
On Wednesday, leaders approved plans to build a brand-new terminal, which will make it the first on the south side of the port.
The new terminal will provide passengers a chance to walk off the boat and immediately have access to dockside restaurants and the Cove Marketplace shopping area.
Right now, passengers at the Northside terminals need to catch a cab to get anywhere.
"We want to make it easy to get off and sit and have a drink and enjoy the waterways that we enjoy every day," said Port CEO John Walsh.
Joe Penovich of the Grills restaurant said he knows a new port could bring big business.
"I've heard estimates of 1,000 to a few thousand a week coming through the port," he said.
Penovich, however, is still a little nervous about the unknown impact since his business has been at the port for 20 years, catering mostly to locals.
He said he initially had concerns about future security measures limiting access from the outside, but he said the port has assured him that won't be an issue.
Port leaders told Channel 9 the $80 million project will bring 1,500 permanent jobs and millions of dollars to the local economy.
"Now, we're going to see how it all comes together," said Penovich.
The new terminal is expected to be finished in about a year. Walsh said they will likely end up working on another terminal as soon as this one is done.