KCI cost estimates finally arrive: Renovations cost more than single terminal

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Plans for Kansas City International Airport could cost somewhere between $964 million to $1.2 billion with new terminal concepts costing less than renovations, according to city staffers and consultants.

Pat Klein, an assistant city manager for Kansas City, told the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council that four concepts were evaluated, two which contemplated renovations to existing terminals and the other two envisioning a new, single terminal.

The four concepts were chosen after months of private meetings among officials with the city, Aviation Department, consultants and airlines. 

Costs for renovations were driven up in part by having to build new parking structures, while new terminal designs could reuse portions of existing parking garages.

The most expensive plan was a $1.2 billion renovation, while the cheapest option was a $964 million new terminal design. There was also a $1 billion renovation design, with another $972 million single-terminal option.

The city and airlines will make a recommendation to the City Council by May 1. But it looks likely that the council will take up a recommendation for a single terminal, dispensing with a popular but aging airport.

Teresa Loar, a Northland council member, sounded her unhappiness with what looks like a “done deal” in her words, an imminent recommendation for the council to vote on a single terminal.

“All these consultants, I don’t know who is paying all these consultants,” Loar said during a Thursday council business session. “Having some input from the City Council would have been good.”

Mayor Sly James responded that the council was kept out of the discussions so it would remain nonpolitical and because proprietary airline information was discussed during the nonpublic negotiations.

We’ll have more information on the specifics of the terminal designs when they become available.

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