Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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KENNER, La. - A contract review panel recommended joint venture led by Hunt Construction, Gibbs Construction and Boh Brothers to build new airport terminal.

The New Orleans Aviation Board will now vote to accept or reject the recommendation.

It's been described as one of the largest construction contracts ever for the city of New Orleans. The new $546.5-mil, 650,000 square foot airport terminal would be built on the north end of Armstrong International.

Thursday, a pair of bidders made their pitches before a special contract review committee. The Hunt-Gibbs-Boh Brothers team was the first up.

'We're the perfect contractor for this job and hope that you agree,' said Larry Gibbs, CEO of Gibbs Construction. 'We have everything you need. We have the company put together with experience, the processes, the people, the dedication, the enthusiasm, the interest. We'll build a quality building that will serve New Orleans for 100 years.'

NOLA Airport Builders, a joint venture including Parsons Construction and Odebrecht USA is also seeking the contract. Odebrecht is major contractor for Army Corps of Engineers projects in the New Orleans area.

'We have built terminals at 41 airports throughout the globe,' said Odebrecht Project Executive Dean Radeloff. 'We're one of the largest contractors in the world, with Engineering News Record consistently ranking us at the top of multiple categories.'

Both joint ventures pledge to meet or exceed the 33 percent minority and women-owned business requirement during construction. They also have New Orleans-based minority partners.

Community leaders held a news conference before the airport review committee meeting. They say local hiring should be a key ingredient in deciding which bidder gets the contract.

'Give people the ability to make a living wage, a saving wage, be part of this major economic recovery and I guarantee you, we'll have safer streets, better schools and stronger families,' said Oliver Thomas, co-chair of the Community Evaluation Commission.

The new terminal building is now set to open in 2018, the 300th anniversary of the city. The terminal contract is expected to be awarded later this month. A different review panel attempted to pick a contractor earlier this year, but that selection process was abandoned after the losing bidder complained the first round of scoring was flawed.

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