Planned 2021 opening of new KCI pushed back

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last week it was learned that the opening of the Kansas City International Airport’s new terminal has been pushed back a little bit.

Geoffrey Stricker, the managing director of the project for Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate gave that announcement that the process will be six to 12 months behind schedule on Thursday, June 14 at the airport committee meeting held at city hall in Kansas City. That means the planned opening in November of 2021 will not be feasible.

On Saturday, June 16, Stricker was the guest of Councilman Dan Fowler during the ‘Donuts with Dan’ event held at the Kansas City Police Department North Patrol community room.

The new terminal was the first topic of discussion in the nearly two-hour meeting.

“I don’t think it is a bad thing … I think it is a good thing because the paper (The Kansas City Star) didn’t quite get the reasons right,” said Fowler, who represents Kansas City’s second district. “The reason is because several months ago we went to the airlines and all of their plans were done in 2015 as far as capacity and projection. Now it is three year later. Is our plan still good? They said ‘no, it isn’t.’ It is 10 percent bigger than when we started and that is very significant.

“It sounds like the negotiation is going slowly and it has nothing to do with it.”

The change Fowler is referring to is going from 35 to 39 gates initially, while the plan is to build out from there to be up to 50 gates in the future.

 CODY THORN/Citizen photo Geoffrey Stricker, the managing director of the KCI terminal development for Edgemoor Infastructure & Real Estate was a guest speaker at the Donuts with Dan event with Kansas City councilman Dan Fowler on Saturday, June 16 in Kansas City.

CODY THORN/Citizen photo
Geoffrey Stricker, the managing director of the KCI terminal development for Edgemoor Infastructure & Real Estate was a guest speaker at the Donuts with Dan event with Kansas City councilman Dan Fowler on Saturday, June 16 in Kansas City.

When talking Saturday, Stricker told the crowd of about 20 that the plan is to build for the future. The baggage handling system will be big enough for growth, as will the security check lines.

Edgemoor has partnered with architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, while adding construction companies Clark, Weitz and Clarkson to the team. There have been 50 Kansas City-based professional services — design and/or engineering firms — added to the team as well and 33 of those are either women or minority owned, a key sticking point during the contentious talks since the tax payers voted for a new terminal in November of 2016.

Another delay that was not planned for following the February approval to forge ahead with the new terminal plan — a close vote by the Kansas City council — came in March when the Federal Aviation Administration told the firm to hire archaeologists to look for graves or burial grounds from former plantation workers and Osage Indians that occupied the area where the current KCI is located.

Stricker hopes to have a more updated timeline and budget numbers on Thursday, June 21, when Edgemoor talks before the city council. He hopes the financial aspect of the deal closes in November so construction can start in the spring of 2019.

The original number out there was the project will cost $1 billion, but Stricker noted that number may be higher.

Stricker noted the group recently toured Love Field in Dallas to get ideas for a terminal that will be similar in size to the new one in Kansas City and got feedback from those in Texas.

Other things of note in regards to the airport changes are that J.E. Dunn was awarded the contract to build the parking garage that will be 2 million square feet, the largest part of the construction project.