Design team of new Atlanta airport terminal will be replaced. (Photo courtesy of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport)

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport fired the designer of its planned $688-million Maynard Jackson International Terminal on Aug. 15, claiming it "failed to live up to its contractual obligations despite extended deadlines."

The airport administration issued the letter of termination after more than a month of meetings with the Terminal Design Team (TDT)-a joint venture of Leo A Daly Co., Omaha; KHAFRA Engineering Consultants, Atlanta; Anthony C. Baker Architects & Planners, New York City; and Browder + LeGuizamon and Associates, Atlanta. Meetings began on July 12 following the airport's issuance of a notice of default of contract on June 30. Airport officials hoped that the notice would spur modifications needed to lower the projected cost, which had increased more than $140 million.

"Despite repeated requests and warnings, TDT failed to provide an adequate plan to cure their default," sais Benjamin R. DeCosta, airport general manager. "We have sought to work with TDT to create a course of action that would be in the best interest of the City of Atlanta and of all parties involved, but the contractual expectations have not been met."

Airport sources point to higher-costing steel and a design requiring more steel than originally anticipated as key factors in the overall cost escalation. The airport will rebid the design of the new terminal through its standard contracting methods. "Our intention is to salvage whatever we can from the investments already made," said DeCosta.

TDT said that it has filed suit Aug. 16 in Fulton County Court against the airport. "This is not what we wanted to do; we desperately wanted to make this work," says Jerry Voith, TDT chairman. "We are disappointed that the city took this route."