The Price Is Higher And Opening Delayed, But Kansas City Officials Are Not Worried About New KCI | KCUR

The Price Is Higher And Opening Delayed, But Kansas City Officials Are Not Worried About New KCI

Nov 1, 2018

When Teresa Loar first learned that the cost of the terminal at Kansas City International airport was nearing $2 billion dollars, “I about fell out of my chair.”

Loar felt better after learning a significant portion of that number was financing costs as part of a monthly briefing from the aviation director and terminal developer Edgemoor.

Still, with so much public interest in the project, Loar says she wants to be more informed about the project.

“People ask me at the grocery store, ‘What’s going on with the airport,' and I have no idea,” Loar said.

On Thursday, city officials finally learned the guaranteed maximum price for construction of the project will be $1.46 billion. Add in about $175 million in permits and other project costs and the total is closer to $1.6 billion. The cost to finance the project adds another $401 million, pushing the overall price tag to $2 billion.

That is more than twice the price voters approved a year ago for the new terminal and a couple hundred million more than the number given to city officials in June. Edgemoor managing director Geoff Stricker says a lot of things have changed.

First, the airlines that use the terminal and will eventually pay for the project requested a larger terminal. They asked for more gates and bigger waiting areas than originally proposed.

Stricker says he offered the airlines a scenario to get back to the $1.4 billion proposed in June.

“You’d have to reduce the number of gates, you’d have to build a smaller packing garage … and emphatically the airlines and KCAD (Kansas City Aviation Department) said that’s not the building we want, that’s not how we can operate in Kansas City,” Stricker told the city council Thursday.

Stricker also reiterated to the city council that Edgemoor remains committed to hiring minority-owned businesses for 20 percent of the project, and women-owned firms for another 15 percent.

Those goals are higher than the ones recommended by the city human relations department.

The city council also saw more renderings of the airport design, although most of the design is still pending the outcome of an environmental assessment.

The environmental assessment, which airport officials initially expected would be done 6 weeks earlier, is also behind pushing back the opening date.

That delay would put a new terminal opening sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s — peak holiday travel.

Out of caution, the opening is scheduled for January 2023.

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