Cost for new KCI has increased to $1.9 Billion

Abby Cambiano
Northeast News

KCMO City Council updated on the plans for the new one-terminal Kansas City airport during the Thursday, November 1 business session.

The total cost of the project has increased to $1.9 billion since June, with Edgemoor at $1.459 billion, Kansas City Aviation Department and airline costs sitting at $175 million, and financing costs at $401 million.

Director of the Kansas City Aviation Department Patrick Klein, Managing Director Geoff Stricker of Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, and representatives from other entities involved updated the council on the revised cost of the project, further design work, and a projected completion date.

The original estimate from 2015 was $964 million. The projected costs last went up in June when the number of gates increased from 35 to 39.

“We are providing that as a guaranteed maximum price, so as the design progresses over the next two months, four months, year, we will keep it at $1.45 (billion) or below,” Stricker said. “You should have comfort in knowing that we guaranteed the number today. We won’t be back before you in three months or six months…”

However, depending on interest rates and other outside factors, the $401 million for financing could still be changed.

This final price tag includes waiting areas, baggage claim and ticketing areas that would hold a capacity for additional gates beyond the 39 already planned, allowing for expansion in following years. Terminals B and C will face demolition in the year or two following the airport’s completion as a second project.

The development company guaranteed this to be the new maximum price on their side of things, and set an opening date for the new terminal no later than January 2023. The penalty for going over that deadline would be $35,000 per day. However, Edgemoor is still hoping to open the terminal before the holidays in 2022.

Edgemoor is still committed to a 20 percent MBE (minority business enterprise) and 15 percent WBE (women business enterprise).

The airport ordinance, #180058, was originally filed and referred to the Airport Committee in January 2018. The committee voted “Do Pass as a Committee Substitute” on February 8, 2018.

Councilwoman Heather Hall voiced her concern over the addition of more gates and Edgemoor’s plan to increase the number of gates in coming years.

“Now, we are at a period in our life where people are having more discretionary income, they’re spending more, they’re traveling more, they’re doing things, but eventually, potentially, our economics aren’t going to look like they do today,” Hall said.

The risk has shifted since this process started in 2015. Now, If the airport fails to make the revenue to cover payments, the airlines are on the hook instead of the aviation department. However, the airlines have yet to sign the agreement. Representatives from the airlines will be present at the November 15 council meeting.

John Green, chief financial officer of the aviation department, said the projected income is sufficient to pay back any loans, but it will be further discussed as it progresses.

Councilwoman Katheryn Shields asked for more communication between the airport committee, which she sits on, and the aviation department.

Roughly five to 10 percent of the design work is done, but it is on hold while the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) complete their due diligence. Once the FAA approves the Environmental Assessment (EA), there will be a groundbreaking ceremony followed by demolition of Terminal A, as well as financing of the project before construction can begin.

Throughout the next 12 months, about 90 percent of the design work will be completed and bid out, with demolition starting in the spring.

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