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Showcase for Kansas City


Airport World reports on the planning, design and opening of Kansas City International Airport’s new $1.5 billion terminal.

After five years of development, design and construction, the new 40-gate terminal at Kansas City International Airport (KCI) has opened for business, ushering in a new era of air travel for the region.

At 1.1 million-square-foot and built at a cost $1.5 billion, the new terminal is the largest single infrastructure project in the city’s history and was delivered ahead of schedule and on budget while providing a significant economic boon to the local community.

The new two-level facility, which can be expanded to a 50-gate facility in the future, wholly replaces Kansas City’s former terminal buildings and is located next to a new 6,200-space parking structure to provide a seamless transition from parking to gate.

Designed to showcase Kansas City’s authentic culture and heart, the new terminal features nearly 50 local and global dining and shopping experiences with 80% of the brands represented from the Kansas City region.

The new terminal’s facilities include the Kansas City Air Travel Experience (an airplane simulation room for anxious, first-time travellers or individuals with a fear of flying), a sensory room, quiet room, indoor and outdoor pet relief areas, the Variety KC Inclusive Family Play Zone, and glass boarding bridges to increase natural light, views of the airfield, and reduce flight anxiety.

It also boasts three times as many toilet fixtures post-security as the current terminals, with options including gender-neutral restrooms and family restrooms with adult changing tables.

Another promiment feature is $5.6 million of newly commissioned art, showcased through 28 unique installations, 19 of which were created by artists who live in, or have ties to, the Kansas City area. The project is the largest One Percent for Art programme in Kansas City history.

“This terminal is a new front door to the people of Kansas City, to everyone in our region, in Missouri and Kansas,” enthused Kansas City mayor, Quinton Lucas.

“Because of this project, thousands of Missourians and Kansans have gotten jobs and built new careers. Because of this project we will bring millions, if not billions, of dollars in new economic development to Missouri and Kansas. Because of this project we will build generations more of exceptional memories here at KCI. This project is because of you.”

Design and construction

Developed by Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate and constructed by CWC – joint venture team comprising Clark Construction Group, Weitz Construction Company and Clarkson Construction Company – the new terminal has transformed the Missouri gateway.

The Edgemoor/CWC team, along with the Kansas City Aviation Department (KCAD), and project designer, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), note that they prioritised community engagement from the project’s outset, hosting hundreds of project presentations and dozens of community design workshops and open house sessions to inform the community about the project and solicit their input on the new terminal’s design and amenities.

The result, they say, is a modern, convenient, sustainable, and inclusive facility that is uniquely Kansas City and meets the diverse needs of travellers in the region.

“This project is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our project management team and trusted trade partners, as well as the ongoing support of the Kansas City community,” said Mark Goodwin, vice president with Clark Construction and project director in charge of the new terminal’s design and construction.

“The input from the community, and meaningful contributions of hundreds of Kansas City-based firms, helped ensure the project will have a lasting positive impact on residents, and on the business community.”

More than 240 Kansas City-area firms contributed to the project, which generated over 6,500 design and construction-related jobs.

Lead engineer, Henderson Engineers, designed an all-electric power system for airport operations that is said to place the terminal at the forefront of sustainability.

Compared to a traditional mixed fuel system that uses natural gas, oil or coal, the all-electric system is expected to avoid 92% of operational CO2 emissions by 2050.

With the airport’s new 6,219-capacity parking garage a complement to the oversize vehicle/surface parking, Henderson provided specifications and design for 70 electric vehicle charging stations.

Additionally, the Henderson engineering team’s custom-designed electrical infrastructure within the parking garage provided flexibility for the integration of a 510-panel solar array, designed and provided by Good Energy Solutions, and supporting an inductive bus charging system, a first-of-its-kind at a municipal international airport.

Much like wireless phone charging, MCI’s fleet of electric buses simply park above inductive charging pads to power up while picking up travellers.

“Because we knew this facility will be in use for at least the next five decades, we were focused on its long-term success and viability,” said James Dietz, principal and aviation practice director at Henderson Engineers.

“As aviation continues to adopt sustainable design practices, going all-electric future proofs the project from taking on considerable upgrades down the road. It’s good for the planet, and good for the wallet.”

Sustainability and accessibility

In addition to meeting the city’s goals for accessibility, inclusivity, and diverse participation, the new terminal is also among the most sustainable airport facilities in the US.

The project, for example, recently achieved LEED Gold certification, making it the first LEED v4 Gold BD+C: NC terminal/concourse project in the Midwest, and the second in the United States.

Sustainable features include locally sourced materials, electric charging stations for personal and commercial vehicles, smart building systems, efficient lighting, and improved air quality.

“Throughout this project, we’ve focused on investing in the economic growth of women and minority-owned businesses, while providing a state-of-the-art new terminal that will redefine standards for air travel,” said Geoff Stricker, Edgemoor’s senior managing director.

“Kansas City is experiencing an exciting period of growth. We are honoured to have delivered this transformative project to meet the evolving needs of the region.”

Retail and F&B offerings

The airport believes that its uniquely Kansas City-inspired concessions programme, created by Vantage Airport Group, features the best of the city’s beloved flavours, makers, history, and experiences delivered by local partners.

Indeed, Vantage is confident that it has set a new industry benchmark for local and minority participation after partnering with minority equity partners Parson + Associates and RMD Holdings, and prime concession operators Outstanding Hospitality Management Concession Group, a Missouri based food and beverage business, and global airport retailer, Marshall Retail Group.

“I want to thank Vantage Airport Group and every stakeholder that had a piece of this project in the last ten years,” enthused KCAD’s director of aviation, Pat Klein.

“Vantage’s concession programme will provide the highest level in customer service and amenities and convey a sense of place in the Kansas City region as we open the new front door to our community for Kansas Citians and our visitors.”

Distributed throughout the new terminal across its two concourses, the concession programme nearly doubles the former offerings. From the moment incoming and departing passengers arrive at the new MCI, they can enjoy regionally inspired dining, shopping, and experiences that are unmistakably made of and by Kansas City.

Unique concepts and locations named after neighbourhoods and cultural institutions elevate the travel experience, says the airport.

Two food halls feature outposts of popular local KC restaurants such as Bloom Baking Company, Bo Lings, and Parisi Coffee. Made in Kansas City Marketplace, an immersive retail destination, offers a curated collection of locally crafted goods, gifts, and apparel from KC makers and retailers including Charlie Hustle and Christopher Elbow Chocolates.

Other notable local brands now open in the new terminal include Brown & Loe, Meat Mitch, and Messenger Coffee, while Kansas City’s burgeoning craft brewery scene is well-represented in the new terminal, with Boulevard Brewing Co, Martin City Brewing Co, and Stockyards Brewing Co.

Entertainment stages have been incorporated seamlessly into dining spaces throughout the new terminal, including a performance stage adjacent to Soiree Steak & Seafood House, in collaboration with the American Jazz Museum. In the Made of Kansas City Food Hall, the Jay ‘Hootie’ McShann’s Blues Bar pays homage to this iconic KC musician.

For legions of longtime and new Kansas City barbeque fans, the KC Barbeque Experience is another focal point of the new concession programme. This expansive dining, shopping, and performance space offers authentic KC BBQ fare prepared by Smoke & Magic, the inaugural champion of the programme’s annual pitmaster competition, which earned a one-year license to operate at MCI along with a cash prize.

Global brands rounding out the commercial offer include &Go, Auntie Anne’s, Big Chicken, Cinnabon, Dunkin’, InMotion, Johnston & Murphy, Lego, and Smoothie King.

New parking garage

Covering over two million square feet, KCI’s new seven-storey parking garage features what has been described as an “elegant and functional parking façade” from Bendheim.

Kansas City-based firm BNIM took lead on the parking facility, in a design-build partnership with general contractor JE Dunn.

Bendheim joined this effort from the design stage, collaborating with their partner Längle Glas to create custom-engineered fastening systems for the parking facility’s ventilated façade. Bendheim ultimately provided over 50,000 square feet of tempered and laminated glass for the project.

At KCI, Bendheim notes that the ‘shingled’ design of the façade creates pockets of air that slide between the glass panels, creating airflow in and out of the garage.

The sheer size and weight of the glass panels, most as large as 6ft x 14ft and each weighing 800+ pounds, called for a carefully designed attachment system. Bendheim and Längle designed and manufactured custom vertical compression clip systems for the project, allowing a costly steel substructure to be eliminated from the design. The 14” long clips support the length and weight of each panel while accommodating construction tolerances, live load movement, wind loads, and expansion joints.

Bendheim and Längle say they deliberately kept ease of installation at the forefront of their design process. “We were very impressed with the Bendheim system, which was designed very well, and the installation of the system and the glazing was a breeze,” commented Paul Fischer, project manager and field foreman at AGP, Inc.

“We were extremely proud to bring our understanding of glass and our extensive experience with ventilated parking façades to this historic undertaking,” noted Bendheim’s Said Elieh.

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