KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Kansas City International Airport’s new $1.5 billion terminal opens at the end of the month, travelers will find plenty of local touches.
Although Edgemoor, the developer on the project, is based in Maryland, the city and company have worked from the beginning to make sure the terminal represents Kansas City.
“The main takeaway for us is that we’ve been intentional in engaging minority- and women-owned businesses that are local to Kansas City,” Latoya Goree, executive director of terminal workforce enhancement programs for the KCI project, told FOX4 in March 2022.
That’s a big reason why many of the restaurants, retail shops and even artwork at the terminal all have local ties.
Travelers from the Kansas City area will likely notice there are several sections all based on local neighborhoods.
One of the most notable is Kansas City’s popular City Market.
In Concourse B, travelers will find a retail location, food hall, coffee shop and other restaurants nearby, all with ties to the City Market. The areas are even built to look like their counterparts in Kansas City.
The new terminal also features Brookside Local. The shop offers travel essentials, indulgences and giftable treats while paying tribute to Kansas City’s Brookside neighborhood, known for its love of all things local.
Finally, there are several odes to Kansas City’s historic 18th and Vine District. The new terminal has a market and retail shop featuring the neighborhood in Concourse A.
Travelers will also find a few other businesses from the district in the same concourse, including one with memorabilia from the American Jazz Museum.
Dozens of new restaurants are coming to KCI’s new terminal, and locals will recognize many of them.
Many Kansas City-area favorites are opening a new location in the terminal; in fact, airport officials said 80% of terminal vendors are local.
Two new food halls will feature local restaurants like Bo Lings, Boulevard Brewing Company, The Hungry Hatch, Pigwich and more.
Other KC-area companies like Guy’s Snacks, Messenger Coffee and Soiree Steak and Seafood House plan to welcome millions at KCI.
Travelers will even find new restaurants that don’t have a Kansas City location but still have a local connection.
Jay ‘Hootie’ McShann’s Blues Bar, for example, will pay tribute to one of Kansas City’s founding fathers of blues and jazz.
Leagues Sports Lounge & Eatery will feature Weston-based KC McCormick Distillery products and highlight the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s history and legacy.
Under Kansas City’s One Percent for Art program, the budget for artwork at KCI’s new terminal is $5.65 million. That makes it the largest public art project in Kansas City history.
Out of over 1,900 applicants, the Build KCI team selected 28 artists to create work for the terminal.
Nine of those pieces are large sculptures, hanging pieces and ceramics that can be found in main terminal areas, the arrivals road and parking garage. These pieces were open to professional artists from around the world.
The other 19 pieces, however, are wall-based artwork found at gates in the two concourses. These proposals were only open to Kansas City-area artists or those with significant ties to the region.
Airport officials said of all the art at KCI’s new terminal, 75% was made by artists with from the Kansas City area or those with close ties.
And even beyond what city the artists call home, odes to the Kansas City region can be found in nearly all of their works.
The ceramics piece “Wings” features the Missouri River line and dogwoods, Missouri’s state tree. The massive “Fountain,” a tribute to the City of Fountains, will leave travelers in awe.
Pieces like “Ornithology,” “Molten Swing” and “Let the Music Take You” pay tribute to Kansas City’s jazz history. “Sky Prairie” near Arrivals was inspired by the beautiful rolling hills surrounding Kansas City.
About half of the retail options at the new KCI terminal are local to the Kansas City area.
The 18th & Vine District has a travel essentials shop in Concourse A, and Director’s Cut, a barbershop in the historic neighborhood, is opening a second location in the new terminal.
The Made in KC franchise is expanding once again, showcasing locally made goods, apparel and souvenirs at the airport. Renderings show the KCI shop could feature brands like Charlie Hustle and Hallmark, among others.
The City Market will have a retail area to bring travelers gifts, apparel and more from its popular shops.
Even some of the convenience stores will be local. Inspired by Kansas City’s independent news outlet, The Pitch will have plenty of reading materials, local collectibles and more.