UPDATE: November 29, 2018: In a statement issued to local media outlets, Kansas City (Missouri) Mayor Sly James said airlines serving Kansas City International Airport are taking a "second look" at the scope of work for the up to $1.9 billion terminal project at Kansas City International Airport, the Kansas City Star reported.
James did not indicate what, if any, of the terminal's features would be reconsidered, but there has been recent tension between the airport's both small and large carriers about how costs will be split for a $20 million baggage handling system, as well as the overall project. Construction cannot begin until the airlines come to an agreement. James said the extra review was part of the carriers' due diligence and would continue through the Federal Aviation Administration's process to approve an environmental assessment. That approval is expected in mid-December.
The city council's airport committee must also review and approve any funding agreement between the airlines, as well as a development agreement, woman- and minority-owned business participation goals and community benefits that Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate will provide.
- Projected costs to build a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport have reached $1.9 billion, almost twice the estimate that development team Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate put forth in its winning bid and that Kansas City residents voted on a year ago, according to The Kansas City Star.
- Geoffrey Stricker, managing partner for Edgemoor, told The Star that airline design changes — additional gates and airplane parking spaces, as well as larger gate holding areas — had resulted in a 40% increase in the size of the terminal. Those requests pushed the price tag to more than $1.6 billion. Add more than $400 million in financing costs and take away some of the anticipated federal grants, and that brings the project costs to almost $2 billion. Airlines are expected to absorb the costs of the design changes. The Federal Aviation Administration is still performing its environmental review of the project, a process that could delay the scheduled opening from November 2022 to January 2023.
- While developers and the authority are still fine-tuning the project’s design and features, Edgemoor has started hiring local contractors. Of the 51 Kansas City-area firms that Edgemoor and its contracting partner Clarkson Construction have hired so far, according to the Kansas City Business Journal, 33 are minority- or women-owned. Some of the contractors who will be working on the project are Kansas City-based Alexander Mechanical, Mark One Electric, Vasquez Construction, Capital Electric Construction Co., MJ Builders and LMG Construction.
Edgemoor won the project after a contentious bid process, beating out teams led by AECOM and local favorite Burns & McDonnell, which actually first proposed the construction of a new terminal. But in the end, the Kansas City Council entered into a memorandum of understanding with Edgemoor, an agreement that required the developer not only to meet disadvantaged business hiring requirements, but that also saw Edgemoor agree to provide worker benefits like the creation of an apprenticeship program, free or reduced-rate transportation and child care services.
Like Kansas City, other cities and airport authorities are exploring these partnerships in order to limit capital outlay, pass on the design and construction risk and responsibilities to the private sector and even hand over long-term maintenance and operation duties.
In Denver, for example, despite concerns about accountability and the potential for passengers to foot the bill for corporate profits via higher ticket fees, the city approved a $1.8 billion deal with Ferrovial Airports to overhaul Denver International Airport and manage concessions there for 30 years. Mayor Michael Hancock, according to Governing, told the city council, “You either raise taxes, you raise costs or you enter into P3s that enable us to level off the costs and share the burden with private partners.”