Committee recommends Edgemoor to build new KCI terminal; City Council must still approve

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The selection committee tasked with finding a firm to spearhead the new KCI terminal project is sending a Bethesda, Maryland-based firm's proposal to the full city council.

That decision, announced Wednesday afternoon, comes as the original firm -- Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell -- was raising questions about the process.

In the beginning, it seemed to be a slam dunk for the home town team, Burns & McDonnell, but in the end the airport selection committee gave the nod to Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate LLC, as its choice to build a new airport terminal at KCI if voters decide they want a new airport in November.

After that announcement, the airport selection committee members said they believe Edgemoor came to the table with the best proposal based on the firm's experience, project and finance approach.

City Manager Troy Schulte said Edgemoor also stayed out of the drama that overshadowed the selection process.

"They didn't try to articulate or, articulate their benefits or articulate any of the opponent's perceived weaknesses in the court of public opinion. They just said 'here is our proposal. We are ready to work with you. Let us know how we can help,'" Schulte said. "It ultimately came down to more of a feel and someone you felt you could work with."

"Frankly, I think something that the public should ask for is, how does this differ from the other proposals? A lot of the chat today was about how the city manager, perhaps others, felt about it and I am sure they are wonderful and nice people, but there are a lot of nice people and so I kind of want to see the facts, that apples-to-apples comparison we were promised really needs to be done so the public can see how much money are we saving, how do we make sure there's local involvement in this project, how we make sure that we're getting the proper number of jobs, and how is this a convenient facility for the future. Those are things that standing with you right now I don't know," said City Councilman Quinton Lucas.

While the proposals from Burns & McDonnell, Jones Lang Lasalle, and AECOM were made public by those companies, Edgemoor did not release details of its proposal, so City Councilman Quinton Lucas said it may take a couple of weeks for city council members to study the Edgemoor proposal and ether accept or reject the committee's recommendation.

"Making sure that we are comfortable with either Edgemoor as being the winning party, or want to go down the rank -- AECOM I believe came in second -- or look to frankly whether we want to terminate the procurement process and start all over in the event we thought there was something wrong with the process, or that the bids didn't really give us what Kansas Citians or what the region wanted" said Lucas.

A memo from Mayor Sly James outlines that not only was Edgemoor was the airport selection comittee's first choice and AECOM the second, but also that proposals from Burns & McDonnell and Jones Lang Lasalle have been flat out rejected. Both are out of the race.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate is headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., but it teamed up with two construction companies with big local presence: Clarkson Construction and Weitz Company.

Clarkson brands itself as "Kansas City's Construction" company. They've been here for since the late 1800s. You likely drive on their work all the time. Clarkson specializes in highways and bridges. Perhaps their signature project: the Bond Bridge over the Missouri River.

Weitz Company is based in Des Moines, Iowa, but its Lenexa office has been open since 2000.

They're another big general contractor, doing everything from a power plant in Egypt, to the chapel at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., to library expansions at UMKC.