Kwame Building set to manage Lambert renovations

A team headed by the Kwame Building Group Inc. of St. Louis has been selected to manage the $105 million face-lift for Lambert Field.

Kwame would lead a program-management consulting team that includes Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., HNTB, Hudson & Associates and MHR International, airport officials said this week. It was the only team to apply for the contract by the June 21 deadline.

The contract still must be negotiated, said Lambert Director Richard Hrabko. The city originally earmarked about $6 million for the program management services.

Kwame was part of joint ventures that provided program management for the $1.1 billion runway expansion and related projects at Lambert Field, and development of the East Terminal, which houses Southwest Airlines' passenger gates.

The upcoming Main Terminal project is described as the largest renovation the airport has seen and will include a domed-glass canopy above the sidewalks and roads, pedestrian bridges from the parking garage to the ticketing level, as well as more stores and restaurants.

The work will proceed in two phases, and construction is expected to be completed by 2012. The conceptual design work was led by David Mason & Associates.

Kwame and Jacobs Civil Inc., a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering, were part of a four-company MetroLink design and construction-management team called the Cross County Collaborative. The group was sued by the Metro transit agency after overruns and delays on the Forest Park-to-Shrewsbury line.

Hrabko said he asked Kwame officials about the MetroLink lawsuit when they said they were interested in submitting a proposal to oversee the airport renovation.

"When they left, I was satisfied they would be able to complete the program management work," he said.

Kwame President Anthony Thompson said the pending MetroLink lawsuit would have no bearing on the company's ability to oversee the airport renovations. Further, he said the selection of his minority-owned firm as lead consultant was a significant milestone.

"We have a lot of experience in airport program-management work," he said.

Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said the pending Metro suit is not relevant to the airport consulting contract.