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Construction Starts for $1.5B MO Terminal Project

Thursday, March 28, 2019

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Ground was finally broken for construction on Missouri’s $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport terminal project.

Officials gathered at the site of the shuttered Terminal A, where the 39-gate facility will be built. Construction is slated to take four years.

The Beginning

Back in 2017, developer Edgemoor was awarded the bid after a contentious bidding process. It was able to nudge out firms AECOM, Jones Lang LaSalle and Burns & McDonnell.

Renderings courtesy of KCI

Ground was finally broken for construction on Missouri’s $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport terminal project.

In the beginning, some took issue with the project proposed as a no-bid contract by Burns & McDonnell, a local firm, leading to a public outcry when the bidding was opened up. In addition, several airlines that fly out of the airport came out in support of Burns & McDonnell; though they did add that they’d be willing to work with any of the four teams that had bid on the project.

Another glitch was that the bidding process was handled differently by each company, with some releasing financial information and design renderings publicly. Others also publicly criticized the process.

According to the Kansas City Star, Karl Reichelt, an AECOM Capital senior manager, had said that the committee’s follow-up questions to bidders were “moving the goalposts” and allowing other competitors to alter proposals.

Burns & McDonnell held rallies and alleged conflict of interest, going so far as to say within recent weeks that the process should start over.

In the end, the selection committee said it recommended Edgemoor because of terminal project experience and finances, but also because the company kept a low profile.

More Drama

Then, in December 2017, the Kansas City Council rejected the original memorandum of understanding with Edgemoor, with members posing concerns about the agreement’s vague terms and insufficient community benefits, but a questionable provision that put the city on the hook for up to $30 million, even if the deal never closes.

When it came to light that the council was questioning the MOU, AECOM and Burns & McDonnell announced that they had teamed up and were waiting to step in if the council decided to completely scrap the deal with Edgemoor.

Officials gathered at the site of the shuttered Terminal A, where the 39-gate facility will be built. Construction is slated to take four years.

However, the council and Edgemoor came to a revised agreement in February 2018, which included a more robust description of community benefits, such as free or subsidized transportation options and licensed child care for workers. It also added contributions to several charitable organizations, detailed an apprenticeship program and made commitments to hiring minority- and women-owned businesses.

Costs of the project had been rising since its inception, and in November 2018, officials released new estimates, putting the price of the project as a whole at nearly $2 billion, which includes about $400 million in finance costs.

Geoffrey Stricker, managing partner for terminal developer Edgemoor, told the Star at the time that the ballooning costs were because the airlines (who are financing the project) have requested four additional gates, more parking for airplanes and larger gate holding areas.

By the end of January, developer drama was still continuing, with three members of council—Scott Wagner, Teresa Loar and Lee Barnes—reportedly asking a consortium, KCI Partnership, which was led by AECOM, for an updated financial proposal, highlighting how divided the council members were on the project in the first place.

AECOM claimed it could save the project $1.113 billion. The council did not entertain the idea of switching developers, however.

The Groundbreaking

“In 2023 we’ll gather here again,” said Geoff Stricker, managing director for developer Edgemoor, “but instead of arriving to a terminal that time passed by, you’ll arrive at one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the country.”

At just over 1 million square feet, the construction is expected to generate up to 5,000 jobs.

   

Tagged categories: Airports; Contracts; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Projects - Commercial; Terminals

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