FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Great Hall project:

What is this project all about?

The Jeppesen Terminal has transformed from its original vision over the years. When it opened in 1995, the terminal was an open, spacious and relaxing place. It was never meant to house TSA, and changes in technology mean the airline ticket counters no longer require the same amount of space to operate. The Jeppesen Terminal is also how millions of people experience Denver for the first time, and we want to get that experience right via enhanced processing, security, shops, restaurants and way finding. Rejuvenating the terminal would help move travelers more efficiently, and create new opportunities to showcase the Mile High City as a world-class destination as we work to keep Denver competitive with airports around the world that are already investing in their terminals. The Jeppesen Terminal project aims to embrace a new, modern airport experience through three main areas of improvement: consolidating the airline ticket counters and consolidating and relocating the TSA screening areas to level 6; modifying the baggage handling system in and under the terminal to support the relocated ticket counters; and redesigning the shopping, dining, and overall passenger experiences available in the terminal.  

Why is the Jeppesen Terminal so important for passengers?

The Jeppesen Terminal features 1.5 million square feet of space, and includes passenger ticketing, baggage claim, ground transportation, international arrivals, shops and restaurants, office areas and the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) security checkpoints. Every DEN passenger experiences the Jeppesen Terminal, whether by heading to the TSA checkpoints prior to a flight, or after arriving at the terminal from the concourses.

How will the airport accomplish this project?

To achieve the vision for a revitalized terminal, DEN is pursuing a public-private partnership (P3) model that seeks the creativity, expertise and capital from the private sector to help reimagine the layout and use of the terminal. At the same time, DEN is working closely and collaboratively with the TSA to design an innovative new security screening prototype that is more efficient and passenger friendly and could someday become a model for other U.S. airports.

What will happen to the TSA checkpoints?

DEN is working closely and collaboratively with the TSA to design an innovative new security screening prototype that is more efficient and passenger friendly and could someday become a model for other U.S. airports. The goal is to create a new screening area that is more secure, more efficient and uses innovative new technology and designs.

What are the benefits of a P3 model?

The P3 model is used to deliver major projects across the globe because it transfers many of the financial risks to the private sector, often speeds up project delivery and leans on the expertise of private firms that have experience working on specific types of projects around the world. The P3 model allows us to leverage the expertise and resources (financial and technical) of the private sector to share both the risk and the reward. 

Consultants estimate that the P3 method will deliver the project in nearly half the time of a normal design build. DEN believes that this project could have taken upwards of seven years to construct and under the P3 method it could take as little as four. The reason for this is because of the more efficient expenditure of funds and the assumption of risk on behalf of the private partner, and the idea that you get more work for the investment. Also, the private partner is taking on the maintenance of the project for potentially 30 years, which reduces the amount of maintenance funding needed.

Will private companies own parts of the airport?

No. The proposed project has a limited scope and while a P3 is being explored for certain aspects of the terminal, the airport and city will continue to retain control of the airport and its ongoing operations will not be affected or included as part of the project.

Who is part of this P3 model?

DEN has selected Great Hall Partners to enter into an exclusive negotiations as part of the pre-development phase for a public-private partnership to make much-needed improvements to the Jeppesen Terminal. The Great Hall Partners include a very qualified group of local, national and international firms with experience in P3s and airports. The P3 provides DEN an opportunity to partner with private sector firms, utilizing their creativity, expertise and capital to help DEN return the Great Hall into the travelers oasis it once was by consolidating airline ticket counters, moving TSA and improving the passenger experience through the creation of a uniquely Colorado environment. The pre-development contract with Great Hall Partners includes participation from other local, national and international companies:

  • Equity Partners:  Ferrovial Airports International Ltd., JLC/Saunders joint venture, which includes Saunders and Magic Johnson Enterprises & Loop Capital
  • Design & Build partners: Ferrovial Agroman and Saunders Construction, Inc.
  • Architects: Luis Vidal + Architects, Harrison Kornberg Architects and Anderson Mason Dale
  • Local Engineers/Contractors: Intermountain Electric, Civil Technology, Gilmore Construction, Sky Blue Builders and Burgess Services
  • Equity Partners Legal Advisors: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Financial Advisor: Citibank

How was Great Hall Partners selected?

The airport began a robust, fair and highly competitive procurement process in January 2015 by reaching out to the private development community for qualified partners. The airport then released a Request for Qualifications, which sought teams with the financial capacity and credentials needed for a project of this scale. As a result of that process, the airport identified four teams that were shortlisted to bid on a final Request for Proposals for the project. Three firms responded to the airport’s Request for Proposals.

Is this a done deal?

No. A contract for the pre-development phase of work was approved by City Council and Mayor Hancock in August. The airport and city will evaluate whether to move forward with a contract long-term P3 following the pre-development phase depending upon the outcome of negotiations. 

What are the next steps?

The City Council and Denver mayor approved the pre-development phase, so we will spend the next six months or so working with the P3 to refine the design concepts, develop cost estimates, phasing plans and refine responsibilities and the scope of work.  Simultaneously we will be developing and negotiating the potential contract for implementation. At the end of that phase, the City and airport will make a decision as to whether to proceed with this P3. 

What happens if the P3 isn’t approved by City Council or the deal doesn’t make sense for the airport anymore?

DEN plans to move forward with the airline ticket counter and TSA screening relocation regardless of whether an agreement is reached on the public-private partnership. Should this occur, DEN would utilize another project delivery method.

How would a reimaged terminal generate revenue for the airport?

With the relocation of the TSA screening areas, we will have an opportunity to use the Great Hall to increase the space that can generate non-airline revenues – which the airport relies on since it does not receive any money from the city’s General Fund. There would be expanded opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses since this project will conform to airport DSBO standards for concessions and construction. The airport intends to hire a master developer for the project. This developer will not be allowed to operate any concessions within the redeveloped space. The P3 partners could receive a share of the revenue from these expanded concession spaces.

What will the project cost?

The pre-development phase of work will help figure out the final financial details. The costs will be based upon the identified scope of work, design progression and other unidentified issues. The final agreement will also detail how much financial commitment DEN makes, compared to the private entities involved. One of the benefits of using the P3 model is that the primary financial risk is transferred to the private partnership, but we expect DEN to have some level of capital investment in this project.

Will this project impact passengers?

DEN is committed to a phased construction program that would impact only sections of the terminal at a time to help minimize disruption to travelers. Ultimately, this project will change the overall flow of passengers into the sterile and non-sterile areas of the airport.

When does construction start and how long will it last?

If approved, construction on the project could begin in late 2017 or early 2018. The project is expected, at this point, to last about three years.

When do concessionaires get to compete for contracts and how?

Concessionaires will compete just like they do now for all contracts. They will begin doing the contracting process in phases, most likely beginning in 2017. The phased approach may follow the schedule of construction. DEN will also look at an approach to get anchor tenants in before filling in space with smaller concessionaires.

What happens to the existing ticket counters when construction begins? How will it affect passengers?

The construction of the project will take place in phases so that there will no delays in service to passengers. Passengers will need to pay attention to signage and notifications of changes to locations for ticket counters so that when they arrive at the airport they aren’t delayed. Because of construction, ticket counter locations may shift temporarily according to the phase of construction, but it will be well signed and communicated to the public.

Will taxpayers be responsible for this construction in any way?

As is the case with all DEN projects, no tax dollars general or General Fund money will be used for the Terminal Revitalization at DEN.

Has this ever been done before in other airports?

Yes, mostly in Europe, Australia, Heathrow, Netherlands, Poland and locally at LaGuardia. They are not exactly the same, however, because in some of these instances parts of the airport were privatized, in DEN’s case the City and the airport still maintain the ownership and the private partner is in a long-term lease.

Is Great Hall Partners a master concessionaire?

No, they will be a management company that holds long-term leases for the concessions in the terminal. They do not operate or own any of the concessions. They may hold leases as a concessionaire only.