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The Kansas City Aviation Department on Thursday recommended a news, gift, food and beverage concessionaire to the City Council, marking another phase in the construction of  the New Terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

After completing the city's Request for Proposals process, Vantage Airport Group emerged from a pool of five proposers as the selection committee's preferred choice. The concessions procurement process, which began several months ago, is expected to continue with discussion and testimony in the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee, before going to the entire City Council for a final vote.

Thursday's Business Session presentation gave council members a chance to see how things have been progressing with this critical part of the "Build KCI" mission.

A complete concessions overhaul is a central component of the $1.5 billion new terminal project. As such, the Aviation Department engaged with the City Council three times to refine the RFP for a concessions partner, and on Feb. 8, 2021, the RFP was issued. 157 requests for the RFP were received, a total of 218 questions were asked, and four addenda were issued. Technical proposals were due June 3, 2021 and financial proposals were due June 24, 2021. Five proposals were submitted and considered by a selection panel consisting of airport partners, public officials, and City of Kansas City staff.

Knowing that the airport serves as the front door to the community, the City envisions a concessions program that creates a sense of place that is uniquely Kansas City, giving visitors a true taste of the region. The airport concessions program will feature local brands, generate local jobs and provide opportunities for small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Travelers will find unique, regionally-inspired shops and restaurants with the newest technology, reasonable prices, and the highest level of customer service. Local brands featured in the concessions program include Charlie Hustle, Urban Cafe, Stockyards Brewing Co, and more. The full list will be announced soon.

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The RFP asked for a single partner to manage the overall concessions program, and set goals of 16 percent Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise participation, and 15 percent minority-owned and 10 percent woman-owned firm participation during design and construction. Following Council approval, the final step in the RFP process will be to sign a contract.

The RFP selection committee recommended Vantage Airport Group because of its experience at other airports worldwide, the inclusion of local and national brands (80%+ local), the offering of significant opportunities for small businesses and woman- and minority-owned businesses, and a strong financial offer with a private investment of $65M requiring no public tax dollars, among other key criteria. There is an estimated $1.5B in concession sales over the life of the 15-year contract, including an estimated $250M of revenue to the Kansas City Aviation Department and an additional $50M in sales tax to the City of Kansas City over the life of the contract.

About Build KCI:

At just over one million square feet, the Kansas City International Airport New Terminal project, Build KCI, is the largest single infrastructure project in the City's history. Slated to open in early 2023, the facility will replace the aging three-terminal complex with a single, modern terminal and 6,000-plus space garage that will improve the traveling experience for residents and visitors. The facility will open with 39 gates and the ability to expand up to 50 gates.

More details of the whole New Terminal project are available at BuildKCI.com and on social media at @BuildKCI.

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The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general fund tax revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system.

Visit flykci.com for more information. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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