Kansas City Mayor Sly James will be on hand Monday to celebrate the symbolic destruction of an unloved landmark: his city’s nearly five-decade-old airport, whose brutalist-style, poured-concrete terminals make it appear like a relic of a bygone age.

The $1.5 billion, four-year renovation is the largest public works project ever in Missouri’s biggest city and part of a growing construction boom by American municipalities that are overhauling airports built when “jet-set” was a synonym for the one percent.