Kansas City officials are welcome other firms to submit qualifications and proposals to build and finance a new KCI single-terminal.
Mayor Sly James, City Manager Tony Schulte and city council members made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
Burns & McDonnell, a local engineering firm, submitted a plan earlier this month to design, build and privately finance the new single-terminal.
“We welcome the city’s decision to invite other proposals, because we want the very best plan for Kansas City. We’re just as confident today that our innovative plan to design, build and privately finance a new one-terminal airport at KCI is a unique Kansas City solution to a Kansas City challenge and will ultimately prove to be the path chosen,” said Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell.
“The winning proposer would still go through the process of developing an MOU for Council approval,” Schulte said. “This RFQ/P requires delivery of all the elements we want in a new terminal – convenient, close parking, better pickup and drop-off lanes, more seating in passenger waiting areas and other conveniences.”
The RFQ/P is being issued Tuesday, and will be due on June 20, which is a standard, three-week period.
According to a press release from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the RFP/Q will ask for proposals that:
- Design, build and privately finance a 750,000 square foot terminal
- Provides at least 6,500 spot parking garage
- Includes 35 gates, but is expandable to 42 gates
- Reflects the design approved by airlines a year ago
- Reflects the financing approved by airlines
- Utilizes local construction workers
- Pays prevailing wages
- Meets or exceeds the City’s MBE/WBE goals as well as workforce development or job training for local workers
- Ensures the City retains ownership and operation of the airport
- Includes 1% of the cost dedicated to the arts
“This is a win for Kansas City,” Mayor Sly James said. “Our airport is the most vital investment we make in order to share our city with the world. And now we know firms are ready to compete to make our airport as world-class as our city.”
Despite being a major player in the KCI new terminal talks, Burns & McDonnell said it only found out about the mayor's plans on Tuesday.
"We heard some rumblings that there was going to be an announcement today," explained Burns & McDonnell Corporate Communications Manager Kristi Widmar. "It was our thought that, once we heard that there were other firms interested, this could be a possibility."
AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm, kicked off the open competition speculation last week after sending a letter to City Council asking to be included in discussions over a new terminal.
After Tuesday's announcement, many firms will likely come forward.
However, Burns & McDonnell remains hopeful following the recent developments.
"It really doesn't change our approach at all," Widmar explained. "We wanted to have a Kansas City solution to a Kansas City problem and we are still very confident."
With one of Kansas City's biggest infrastructure projects hanging in the balance, American Institute of Architects President-elect Galen Lif said the open competition would likely get a lot of attention from airport designers.
"Anytime there's a $1 billion project on the table, a lot of people are going to be interested," he explained. "I'd imagine that there would be firms outside of Kansas City but we have firms here in Kansas City that are perfectly qualified."
Customers would see the benefits of a heavy competition, Lif said, with many of the firms hoping to boldly address the needs of fliers.
"Opening that up to competition will only enhance that ability to make sure that the right team and the right people are selected moving forward," he explained. "If you really have to think about what somebody else might be proposing, it makes your work better."
With a public vote on a new terminal still expected to happen in November, Burns & McDonnell hopes it will be the one to build a possible new gateway to Kansas City.
"I think to have a project that's right here on our home turf that could benefit all of Kansas City would be the best project to be involved in," Widmar said. "Our goal is to have the best airport that we can possibly have, so we support the city's decision on the route that they want to take."
Two public hearings dealing with the future of KCI Airport will be held next week.
The first will be held next Monday at 5:30 pm at the Bruce R. Watkins Center.
The second will be held next Thursday at 9:15 am at City Hall.