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New KCI Terminal Won't Open By 2021, Officials Hope To Have a Budget By July

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate
The opening Kansas City's new single-terminal airport has been delayed.

Updated 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21.

The estimated cost of the new, single-terminal KCI Airport is $300 million more than previously thought, officials said Thursday.

In addition to four more gates, the terminal building itself will be bigger, causing the cost to rise to between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.

Aviation director Pat Klein assured the city council during an update that the airlines who use the airport —and who will ultimately be on the hook for the cost — support the increase.

The opening of the new terminal has been pushed from November 2021 to fall 2022. Edgemoor’s Geoff Stricker also told the council that they are nearing a labor harmony agreement with unions. 

Original story continues below:

Kansas City's new, single terminal airport probably won't open in November 2021 as planned. 

Airport officials told a city council committee on Thursday that they're waiting on an environmental study on the site to be completed, which likely won't be done until October. 

KCI terminal developer Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate had hoped to issue requests for proposals in the meantime, to get the ball rolling on finding contractors for construction, but the Federal Aviation Administration advised them to hold off until they get environmental clearance. 

Construction cannot begin in earnest until after that happens.

That, along with the additional gates on the terminal and a longer-than-expected process to reach a development agreement with the city, has pushed back the anticipated opening some six to 12 months, according to Geoff Stricker, Edgemoor's managing director.

Councilman Jermaine Reed said he was hoping for more certainty from Thursday's update. 

“At the end of the day the flying public, of course needs to know this and, of course, we need to know how long this is going to get drawn out," Reed said. 

There's also no set budget yet. Aviation director Pat Klein says a few things need to happen first.

The airlines will have to determine how much they're willing to spend. Klein said the airlines received information on design standards on Thursday afternoon. Those standards cover everything from whether the floors will be tile, laminate or terrazzo to what kind of lighting fixtures will be in the bathrooms. 

"And then we figure out at that point what is in the baseline budget, and then we'll feel like we’re at a point where we'll be able to tell the citizens, 'OK we think the base budget of the project will be x,'" Klein said. 

He said he expects that figure will be more than the $964 million projected in 2015 for a 35-gate facility. 

In addition to a budget and a final design, Edgemoor still has to reach an agreement with labor unions on how much of the project will be union work. 

Some labor groups would like to see 100 percent union work, but Edgemoor argues it may not be able to reach the city's goals for minority business participation in an all-union job. 

Klein expects an agreement will be reached before the environmental study is finished. 

The FAA also needs to approve a community benefits agreement that required Edgemoor to provide specific investments into the broader Kansas City community.

Stricker says his team committed to following through on those items, whether or not they get FAA approval. 

"If the FAA ultimately decides certain components are not eligible to be covered by projects costs, then we will cover those anyway," Stricker said. 

The full council is set to get another update on progress next week.

Stricker and Klein hope to have a better idea of the timeline and budget by mid-July.

The city council also signed off on a $14 million contract to a Texas company to manage the project for the city.

Paslay Management Group will represent the city's interests in the project and work with Developer Edgemoor. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig. 

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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