Denver International Airport (DEN) formally kicked off the start of construction of a three and a half-year renovation project of the Great Hall. The Great Hall is the area under the tents of the airport’s Jeppesen Terminal, which encompasses 1.5 million square-feet. The project will make substantial improvements to Levels 5 and 6.
“As the state’s largest economic engine, we must continue to invest in the airport for both today and tomorrow,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “This project will create a terminal for the future allowing Denver to accommodate its continued growth while competing on the global stage with some of the best airports and cities around the world.”
The Great Hall Project will enhance security, provide a more flexible and open airline check-in space and add new dining and shopping options. It will also increase capacity of the terminal, update the aging facility and improve the overall passenger experience at DEN.
“When the airport opened in 1995, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) didn’t exist and passenger expectations of an airport were vastly different,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “Today, the Great Hall is well above its design capacity of 50 million passengers and is filled with noisy passenger screening operations and has no space in which to accommodate growth. The Great Hall Project will reconfigure and better utilize the existing space in the terminal to create a safer, more efficient and better travel experience while returning the Great Hall to its original purpose of a travelers’ oasis.”
Specifically, the project will:
- Enhance safety and security by relocating the TSA screening checkpoints from Level 5 to Level 6 and implementing new, state-of-the-art “automated security lanes” and a new queueing concept that will reduce lines and wait times
- Increase capacity of the terminal to accommodate future growth to 80 million passengers
- Make better use of technology and space in airline check-in areas
- Create a new meeting/greeting area at the south end of the terminal, which will serve as a new “front door” from the plaza to the airport
- Develop a new international passenger welcome center with seating, food money exchange and retail just outside of the Customs and Border Protection area
- Improve food and retail offerings throughout the terminal
- Upgrade infrastructure and systems in the terminal, including heating and cooling systems, escalators, elevators, restrooms and security
- Increase curbside drop-off capacity, including the addition of an express drop-off location adjacent to the TSA checkpoints for passengers without bags to check
Construction of the Great Hall will take place in four phases with some preparation work already underway. For instance, the restaurants in the middle of the Terminal have already closed, ground transportation counters have relocated and some of the artwork in the terminal has been temporarily placed in storage until construction is complete. The airport’s unique and conversational art will return upon completion of the project and will be augmented with new pieces.
“The renovation process has been carefully planned with a phased approach so that passenger impacts will be minimized while still allowing for safe and efficient construction,” said Ignacio Castejon, CEO of Great Hall Partners. “The start of construction is a major milestone in the transformation of Denver’s Great Hall and we look forward to ultimately delivering a destination for passengers that offers enhanced security, innovative technology and new amenities and retail.”
The first phase of construction, which is scheduled to continue until spring 2019, will mainly take place in the center of the Great Hall and will not impact security screening or check-in processes. However, construction walls will be in place on Level 5 and Level 6, which may require additional time to navigate from the check-in counters to security.
The first three phases will take approximately 10 months each with the final phase lasting about 12 months. Key milestones will include:
- Mid 2019: First phase of new check-in counters and the first phase of the new commercial area open
- Early 2020: All remaining new check-in counters open with all airlines in their final locations
- Late 2020: New TSA passenger screening areas open
- Late 2021: Construction complete including all the new commercial areas
The project is a public-private partnership (P3) with Great Hall Partners, comprised of Ferrovial Airports, JLC Infrastructure and Saunders Concessions. It is the City’s first P3, and allows DEN to shift the risk for cost and schedule for this very complicated construction in a 24-7-365 operating facility from the airport to the P3 team. DEN will continue managing the airport, while leveraging the creativity, expertise and financial capabilities of Great Hall Partners – which has proven experience developing world-class airports around the world, including redevelopment of T2 and T5 at London Heathrow Airport
The 34-year agreement calls for Great Hall Partners to design and construct all improvements in the next four years, followed by 30 years of operations and maintenance within specific commercial areas of the terminal, including approximately 50 retail and restaurant units, some of which are currently being procured. For information about upcoming business opportunities through the project, please visit rfp.greathallpartners.com/.
The anticipated cost to design and build the project is estimated at $650-$770 million, which includes an airport-controlled contingency of $120 million to accommodate unexpected issues or changes including TSA or airline requests over the next few years. Great Hall Partners made an initial investment of $258 million that will be repaid over time through a combination of installments from the airport and a 20 percent share of the concession revenues from new shops and restaurants. They will also invest additional funds over time for renewal and replacement. DEN will also reimburse Great Hall Partners for operating and maintenance costs over the 30 years. DEN is paying for the remainder of the construction cost and will retain 80 percent of all concessions revenue and 100 percent of other revenues derived from the terminal spaces the airport will operate. The total amount of the contract with Great Hall Partners, which includes design, construction, operations, finance costs and maintenance for 30 years, is capped at $1.8 billion.
DEN is an enterprise of the City and County of Denver, so no taxpayer money from the city’s General Fund is used for this or any projects or operations at the airport. The Great Hall Project is expected to create 400-450 construction jobs, more than 800 new permanent jobs and generate an additional $3.5 million in annual taxes and General Fund revenue for the City of Denver. All of DEN’s current job postings are available online at jobs.flydenver.com.