AECOM, the Los Angeles-based engineering giant that helped persuade officials here to solicit competitive proposals for the single-terminal modernization of Kansas City International Airport, has announced the team it has put together to pursue the roughly $1 billion job.
The consortium, called KCI Partnership, includes AECOM (NYSE: ACM), Oaktree Capital Management LP, and Turner Construction.
The deadline for teams to submit their design-build plans for the new terminal is July 27. The deadline for private financing plans is Aug. 10.
So far, only two teams — AECOM’s and Burns & McDonnell’s — are known to be pursuing the KCI (Code: MCI) project, which ultimately would be paid for by airport-generated fees, not tax dollars, but still must past muster with Kansas City voters, most likely in November.
Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City engineering and architecture firm, introduced the idea of private equity and debt, versus city-issued airport revenue bonds, for financing the project as part of a no-bid KCI proposal announced by the firm and city officials in May.
After AECOM and others called for opening up the project for competition, city officials agreed to do so, but asked that all teams follow suit with Burns & McDonnell by including private financing components in their proposals.
Last month, the Kansas City Business Journal reported that a huge investment player, Oaktree Capital Management, was investigating participation in the KCI modernization competition.
Oaktree, which is part of the AECOM consortium announced Tuesday, was part of a team that led the 2013 privatization of Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the busiest airport in the Caribbean.
Just as Burns & McDonnell did in Kansas City, Oaktree also attempted to win approval of a no-bid proposal last year in Westchester County, N.Y. That plan, which called for privatizing the county’s airport, had support from the Westchester County executive and the airlines operating at the airport.
“But the county legislature said, ‘Wait a minute, we want a competition to make sure we get the best deal possible.’ So they’re underway with a competition now,” Robert Poole, an airport privatization expert at Washington-based Reason Foundation, said of the Oaktree plan.
In a release Tuesday, the AECOM consortium pursuing the KCI deal is described as a “world-class team (that) brings unparalleled qualifications, with its members having designed, constructed and financed world-class airport projects in several major American and international cities.”
According to the release, AECOM would be the lead designer.
“AECOM … has created innovative designs for some of the busiest airports, including Boston Logan, Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, JFK Airport in New York and other airports around the globe,” the release states. “ AECOM has a local presence of nearly 200 employees in the Kansas City area. AECOM will be joined by world-renowned airport designers Fentress Architects who count Denver International Airport, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Korea, and Mayor Tom Bradley LAX International Airport among their global portfolio of iconic airport designs.”
According to the release, Oaktree, which has more than $100 billion in assets under management, would serve as an equity partner for the KCI project, as would AECOM Capital.
AECOM Hunt and New York-based Turner Construction would share the contracting duties, the release states.
“AECOM Hunt has over 70 aviation projects in its portfolio, 67 percent of which have been repeat clients,” the release states.
“Established in Kansas City in 1988,” the release adds, “Turner Construction is consistently ranked as one of the leading general builders in Kansas City and the U.S. (and is) one of the top three aviation builders in the nation. With a staff of 5,200 employees and 200 locally, the company completes $11.5 billion of construction on 1,500 projects each year. Turner has completed several signature projects in the Kansas City area including the Bartle Hall expansion, Kansas Speedway, Arrowhead Stadium renovations and Children’s Mercy Park.”
The announcement of AECOM’s team members follows the recent announcements of Burns & McDonnell’s construction team and architectural team members for the KCI project.