Mayor maintains relationship with Edgemoor as AECom and Burns & McDonnell unite to win KCI bid

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two firms who bid against each other to build Kansas City’s new single terminal airport are teaming up. Burns and McDonnell and AECom announced Monday they are waiting in the wings as Kansas City's airport committee decides this week whether to end negotiations with Edgemoor.

Mayor Sly James, who has continued to support negotiations with Edgemoor called the announcement "premature."

“We want to thank the City Council for taking steps and actions to make sure that the airport is built by the two most qualified teams in the industry," Mike Handleman, KCI Partnership Principal, said in announcing the agreement between AECOM and Burns and McDonnell.

When the City Council voted against a memorandum of understanding with Edgemoor, Mayor James sent a City Council proposal to start negotiating with other firms to committee. But Edgemoor still has those exclusive rights for now.

“What we need to do is what the process is supposed to do, which is negotiate until we reach an impasse. There’s been no problem, Edgemoor has not refused to do anything that’s been asked from them," Mayor James said.

Since the surprising 9-4 vote Thursday, Edgemoor has been trying to figure out what went wrong. The Maryland-based firm was chosen 10-2 by the same body in September, and 75 percent of voters approved the plan after seeing designs submitted by the company.

“Friday and today we had several conversations with council members. We have more scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday and we are continuing to sit down with them and understand what their issues and concerns are," Edgemoor Managing Director Geoff Stricker said.

“The commitment to the minority community was less than, far less than any of the other qualified respondents," Greater Kansas City Black Chamber of Commerce President Kelvin Perry said of Edgemoor at the KCI Partnership news conference.

“Their (Kansas City's) outside attorneys said that we provided the highest commitment of Minority Women Owned Business Enterprises of any of the proposers," Stricker countered.

Despite KCI Partnership strengthening its bid, Mayor James said Monday evening it would be bad business to switch firms now.

“If we do this type of stuff, how is anyone that comes into this city to do business supposed to understand what the parameters are?" the mayor said.