Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Great Hall Project?

More than two decades after opening, the Great Hall beneath the iconic tented roof of Denver International Airport’s (DEN) Jeppesen Terminal needs updating to address today’s aviation needs. The Great Hall Project will include upgrades to Jeppesen Terminal, including restrooms and other infrastructure that is now 25 years old.  Through these renovations, DEN is committed to delivering a path to long-term growth and Phase 1 is the first step in enabling future work. 

Why is the Great Hall Project needed?

As DEN celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020, it is important that we continue to look towards the future. By moving forward with the Great Hall Project, we can enhance safety and security, add capacity for the future, upgrade our aging infrastructure and create a more efficient passenger journey. It will take some time to build our terminal for the future, but in the end, DEN will be well-positioned to grow with our airline partners and our community.

How is the Great Hall Project protecting their workers from COVID-19?

As construction work continues on the Great Hall Project, the safety of employees and passengers remains our top priority. To help minimize the spread of COVID-19, Great Hall contractor Hensel Phelps has taken a number of actions including:
  • Taking the lead on ensuring compliance with federal, state and local COVID-19 mitigation requirements and other guidance on the project, and working with DEN so DEN can assist in their efforts as needed;
  • Continual cleaning to disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas (meeting rooms, bathrooms, break areas, etc.), limiting the number of people in common areas and requiring face masks for workers where they are necessary and OSHA masks aren’t required;
  • Added trained professionals to implement health checks that include high fever and symptom screening in accordance with City and County of Denver guidelines;
  • Incorporating CDC and State of Colorado COVID-19 precautions and ongoing developments at project orientations and safety meetings and posting up-to-date information in high traffic and common areas to ensure personnel is aware of regulatory guidelines.

How is construction progressing?

DEN took over the Great Hall Project on Nov. 12, 2019. On Feb. 18, 2020, the Denver City Council approved the general contractor/construction management contract with Hensel Phelps to complete Phase 1 of the Great Hall Project. Construction resumed in March 2020. On July 22, 2020, DEN and its contractor, Hensel Phelps, completed the first major milestone on the Great Hall Project, the installation of the steel for the new airline ticketing pods on Level 6, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. In December 2020, the Great Hall Project reached its second milestone with the completion of the Central Monitoring Facility where TSA resolves checked baggage issues. 

In July 2020, DEN launched a project dashboard so the public can track the progress of the project. The dashboard can be accessed HERE. The metrics being reported on a monthly basis are:

  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 schedule and key milestones
  • Construction cost
  • MWBE (Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises) participation
  • Workforce program
  • Safety performance

Will Phase 1 general contractor Hensel Phelps continue on Phase 2?

Hensel Phelps is the general contractor for Phase 2.    

When is the project anticipated to be complete?

Phase 1, including check-in facilities in the central part of the terminal and preparatory work for future phases, will be completed by the end of 2021.  Phase 2 consists of building out a new security checkpoint on the northwest side Level 6 and is scheduled to be complete by 2024.  

When will passengers and employees be able to walk from the north to south end of the terminal on Level 6?

Movement through the terminal will substantially improve by the end of 2021 even though work will continue in the main terminal in the next phase of the Great Hall Project.

What concessions will be added to the new areas?

Phase 1 will have two new coffee concessions on Level 6 in the check-in area. Space will eventually be located for concessionaires that were contracted with the previous developer. Any leftover space will go out for RFP (Request for Proposal). None of the existing concessions in the terminal will remain in their current spot.

Will the U.S. Postal Service be returning to the terminal?

It may not specifically be a post office, but we will have a vendor that provides mail services.

Are we getting new art in the terminal, and if so when?

We are getting new art. When and where it will be unveiled is yet to be determined, but we hope to finalize the plans in 2021.

Will the restrooms in the center of the terminal resemble the restrooms in the new gate expansion?

The same materials are being used in the terminal restrooms that are being used at the new gates and will have a familiar look regardless of location. Unfortunately, they won’t have that tremendous view of the airfield!

Will the restrooms outside the center of the terminal be remodeled?

Phase 2 is focused on the new security checkpoint on Level 6.  Improvements to other areas will be considered in the future.

Are there two escalators being added one on each side, one west and one east?

Due to the new checkpoint on the northwest side of Level 6, two escalators are being added to the west side as part of that curbside expansion.  Also, escalators are being added behind Level 6 security checkpoints to facilitate movement to the train platform.

What will the new meeter/greeter space look like on Level 5 south?

Relocating the south security checkpoint creates the opportunity to activate the space on Level 5 with new concessions and improved amenities for meeters and greeters. This has yet to be developed. 

The terrazzo floor in bag claim, is this the material intended to be used further or possibly replaced?

Phase 2 is focused on the new security checkpoint on Level 6.  Improvements to baggage claim will be considered in the future.

What, if any, social distancing and touchless options have been incorporated into the design moving forward?

The design team is considering how to best promote touchless options with available technology. 

Will you be able to access security checkpoints from the west side?

Yes, from Level 6 on the west side.

With the new security checkpoint, passengers are assigned a vestibule before going through security, who assigns the vestibule to the passengers?

The screening vestibule assignments will be made by TSA.

Will customers exit the trains the same as today?

Yes. Arriving passengers will still exit the trains the same way.  DEN is looking for the best ways to serve the meeter/greeter area, as well as more than 35,000 badged DEN employees.

Will taxpayers be responsible for this construction in any way?

DEN is an enterprise of the City and County of Denver, so no taxpayer money is used from the city's general fund for any projects or operations at the airport.

What is the status of the contract with Great Hall Partners?

In 2017, DEN entered into a 34-year contract with Great Hall Partners (GHP) to renovate the terminal and manage defined areas after completion of construction. Construction began in July 2018. In August 2019, DEN was no longer confident that GHP could deliver this complex project while maintaining the operations. As a result, DEN terminated the contract. 

It is still necessary to renovate the aging infrastructure of the terminal and DEN will continue with the project to provide a quality facility for our passengers and to accommodate the demand of our airline partners.

How much did it cost for DEN to end the contract with GHP?

DEN will fund 100% of the project moving forward by refunding GHP’s investment in the project (approximately 25% of the construction cost) along with the lost return on their investment.  In addition, the airport paid for any outstanding invoices and costs related to work in place and materials procured, as well as certain termination costs related to contracts issued by GHP.

What did the Great Hall termination pay-out consist of?

As part of the termination of its contract with Great Hall Partners for the renovation of the Great Hall, DEN is obligated to reimburse Great Hall Partners for work done to date.

Great Hall Partners was funding about 27% of the project and DEN was funding about 73% . As a result of the termination, DEN must reimburse Great Hall Partners for the money that was spent on the project for work completed. DEN does not have to pay any fees or penalties simply for terminating the Development Agreement. Paying contract breakage and termination costs are typical when terminating a construction contract for convenience. 

There are three categories that make up the termination payment:

  1. Net Lenders’ Liability: Refunding Great Hall Partners’ share of project costs to date, which is the amount of money Great Hall Partners spent to design, construct, and manage the work completed. DEN now owns all the work, including the intellectual property such as design drawings and calculations. Great Hall Partners will use the refunded money to pay back the bonds they issued.
    Total: $90.4 million 
  2. Breakage/Costs: Payment to Great Hall Partners for the work that was required for them and their subcontractors to wind down the work on the project. There are three types of costs: 
    • Contractor Breakage Costs – The costs incurred by Great Hall Partners and its contractors because of the termination, such as demobilizing from the site, materials and equipment ordered that cannot be stopped or returned (which DEN will use in completing the project), and other similar costs;
    • Redundancy Costs – Great Hall Partners’ costs for terminating employees who will not continue with their company, such as severance payments, unpaid accrued time off, and moving costs; and
    • Transition Costs – The amount spent by Great Hall Partners during the 90-day transition to DEN (Aug. 12 – Nov. 12), such as continuing the fire watch, the cost to secure the site, and management of the work during this transition.
      Total: $55.6 million (includes all costs above and also settles $290 million in claims for additional money filed by Great Hall Partners)
  3. Equity/Return on Investment: The return on their investment that Great Hall Partners’ owners would have received over the 34-year life of the contract.
    Total: $37.7 million 

Regarding the concrete issues identified early in the project, is the airport safe? 

In November 2018, concrete compression strength numbers were lower than originally reported. DEN acted quickly and hired outside experts to perform independent testing. In February 2019, these results determined that the concrete strengths were safe and construction on the terminal could continue.

DEN is encouraging the contractors to meet MWBE goals.  Are there consequences if they don't meet them?

All contractors working on the Great Hall Project have significant MWBE goals.  DEN is tracking progress against these goals on its monthly dashboard.  DEN will maintain vigilance throughout the project.  Any non-compliance is governed by the Denver-wide ordinance managed by the Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO).