The modern and uniquely Kansas City, Missouri, airport that voters approved in November is back on track to open in 2021, now that the City Council has approved an agreement with the developer selected to build the much-anticipated single terminal.
The council voted 8-5 on Thursday to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Edgemoor Infrastructure. The City Council voted 9-4 in December to reject the initial proposal.The non-binding MOU will set the framework for upcoming negotiations on the final development agreement and related documents.
“I’m happy, relieved, and, most of all, excited that we can finally move on to the next phase of this project and give Kansas Citians the airport they want and deserve,” Mayor Sly James said. “This wasn’t always a pretty process, but at the end of the day, when city officials trust the democratic process and act to serve Kansas Citians, we move forward as a community. Now, it’s time to get to work on the next steps.”
Those next steps include Edgemoor and the Aviation Department working together to quickly establish a maximum guaranteed price for the project. The agreement limits the City’s liability and makes Edgemoor solely responsible for any cost overruns.
Another important step will be the environmental assessment that the FAA requires for such projects.
The new MOU addresses 43 of 45 points of concern the council brought to attorneys representing the city in negotiations with Edgemoor. The new version includes a revised $28.9 million community benefits agreement with money for child care and free busing for those working on the project.
The Nov. 7, 2017, 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.
“Kansas City voters sent a clear message to us last November that they wanted a world-class airport for our City, and they wanted it done in a manner that was transparent and that would make our city proud,” Third District City Councilmember Jermaine Reed said.
Fourth District Councilmember Jolie Justus said the vote would “show that Kansas City is open for business, innovation and partnership.”
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 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.