The modern and uniquely Kansas City, Missouri, airport that has frequent fliers glowing with excitement is one major step closer to becoming a reality now that voters have overwhelmingly approved construction of a single terminal that’s set to open in 2021.
The Nov. 7 election generated strong regional interest and about 75 percent of those casting ballots supported the project, which is expected to cost slightly more than $1 billion to complete.
“I think it’s really impressive that the people of this City made their statement in such a resounding fashion,” said Mayor Sly James, who has spent the last several months promoting the need for a new terminal to neighborhood groups, business associations and just about anyone else who would listen.
“I’ve said many, many times, KCI is our front door and it ought to be attractive and inviting. Our old front door served us well but it’s time for a new one that’s better and reflective of the 21st century.”
Next steps including finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Edgemoor Infrastructure, the developer selected through the city’s procurement process. The City Council will take up the MOU at its Nov. 30 meeting. The Council has to approve the MOU, as well as the final contract. Edgemoor has said it plans to break ground in the fall of 2018.
The public participation continues even after the votes have been counted. Edgemoor is scheduling open houses to gather community input for the terminal’s final design, giving residents still another chance to influence the project.
“This is a true validation of where I think the City is headed,” City Manager Troy Schulte said. “We really want the public to take ownership of this process, so Edgemoor will have at least six open houses with one in each council district so that residents can weigh in on the final design.”
The new terminal will be built on the site of Terminal A, which has been closed for several years due to airline mergers. Terminals B & C will continue to operate as usual.
City officials have already specified that the new terminal must have certain features that keep and improve the existing convenience of the terminals at Kansas City International Airport.
Edgemoor’s preliminary design features a two-level curbside drop-off and pickup area which will be more convenient and less crowded for travelers. Also, waiting areas at each gate will have room for the increased number of passengers on today’s planes.
The requirements to build the terminal include:
- Private financing for a 750,000 square foot terminal
- A 6,500-spot parking garage
- 35 gates (expandable to 42 gates)
- A local workforce
- Prevailing wages for construction workers
- Assurance that the City’s MBE/WBE goals as well as workforce development or job training for local workers are met or exceeded
- 1% of the cost dedicated to the arts
Financing for the new terminal will be paid back from airport revenues, and the city will continue to own and operate the airport. More information about the project is available on the NewKCI site on KCMO.gov.