Project Overview

In August 2016, DEN began pre-development negotiations with Great Hall Partners to discuss design, cost and partnership details for the project. When negotiations were completed, the airport presented the final terms of a development agreement to the Denver City Council. The project was approved in August 2017.

This plan will result in an improved security model, featuring new technology and a modernized facility. At the same time, DEN will be able to better utilize the terminal space for improved concessions and increased non-airline revenue in an environment that promotes relaxation and enjoyment.

DEN’s goal is for travelers to find the terminal experience safer, more efficient and enjoyable. The result of these needed upgrades will be a modernized facility that serves as a warm welcome to Denver, keeps up with increasing passenger demand and creates a lasting impression on visitors to our state.

While focused largely on the Great Hall area, improvements will also be made to most areas of the terminal including escalators, restrooms, ticketing and security.

Project Benefits

Although DEN remains the country’s youngest commercial airport, no one could have predicted how security and technology would fundamentally change the aviation industry over the last two decades. By investing in a modern airport terminal, we will elevate the overall passenger experience and enhance security in a way that adapts to today’s global challenges. The Great Hall project will provide the following benefits:

  • Security
    • Increases throughput of the security checkpoints by 50-70 percent
    • Decreases security vulnerabilities in the terminal and improves screening process
  • Capacity Enhancements/Infrastructure Improvements
    • Updates check-in areas, checkpoints and drop-off curb improvements outside of the airport
    • Balances the terminal’s capacity with new concourse capacity as DEN grows
    • Increases and improves the concessions area
    • Upgrades and replaces critical systems, including escalators, elevators, restrooms, ticketing and screening technology
  • Experience
    • Increased, improved and better-positioned concessions.
    • New domestic meet-and-greet area and plaza adjacent entry to terminal.
    • New international passenger welcome area.
  • Economy
    • Creates 450 construction jobs and over 800 permanent jobs
    • Enhances DEN as the largest economic engine in the state — $26 billion in annual economic impact
    • Adds $3.5 million annually in additional city taxes

Click here to watch former TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger talk about the Great Hall Project 

Click here to watch Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, talk about the Great Hall Project

Project Components

The Great Hall project is made up of several components:

  • Consolidated Ticket Lobby — Airline ticket counters move to the south end of the terminal, making better use of this space.
  • New TSA Security Screening Experience — TSA moves from Level 5 to Level 6, reducing a vulnerability and creating a better passenger experience. Along with moving checkpoints, the project will also tap into new technology and industry innovations to create more secure and efficient security screening. The plan is projected to substantially increase  passenger throughput at the checkpoints and remove the potential risk of having two highly exposed checkpoints. Additionally, the existing TSA checkpoint on the bridge would be removed, creating open post-screening access to the pedestrian bridge.
  • Concourse A Bridge Walkway — Creates much-needed additional concessions, support and service space on the A bridge.
  • International Welcome Area — Located at the north end of the Great Hall, the area will include seating, a coffee shop, convenience retail, money exchange, flight information and a new escalator to facilitate international connections.
  • Level 5 South Entrance/Waiting Area — Creates a new front door to the airport for passengers entering from the A Line train, and creates a new welcoming space for greeting domestic arrivals. The area will include concessions, a children’s play area and comfortable seating. 
  • Post-Security Concessions Area — This area will improve the food, retail and services available in the terminal.
  • Drop-Off Curb Improvements — This will add a partial median to both east and west curbs to increase drop-off capacity. 

Preliminary Conceptual Project Renderings

The following images show the preliminary architectural renderings of what the space will look like upon completion. These images, which are subject to changes, provide a glimpse of what the look and feel of the Great Hall would be in a few years. For a computer video rendering of this preliminary concept, which is subject to change, click here. 

(Post-security, level 5)

Terms of the Development Agreement

Under the proposed terms of the development agreement, the airport remains in full control of its facility -- including the ticket lobbies, security screening areas and public circulation. Great Hall Partners will be responsible for constructing the improvements and managing the terminal concessions. DEN and Great Hall Partners are sharing the costs of design and construction. Great Hall Partners will be repaid through a combination of DEN payments and they will keep 20% of the concession revenues. DEN will keep 100 percent of other revenues derived from the terminal in spaces the airport will develop. We anticipate the cost to design and build the project will range from $650-$770 million, which includes an airport-added contingency of $120 million to accommodate unexpected issues or changes in TSA or airline processing in the next few years. The contract length will be set at 34 years, which includes four years of design and construction work, following by 30 years of concessions operations and maintenance. Once construction is complete, DEN will pay Great Hall Partners to operate and maintain the terminal for the life of the contract. These payments, added with the cost of design and construction, equal a maximum contract amount of $1.8 billion. This is very much in line with other airports in the U.S. and abroad, which are investing in new or improved terminals and other airport facilities as they age or grow. Los Angeles, for example, is spending about $5 billion on a people mover to relieve congestion in its terminal area.

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. Instead, the airport acts more like a business, so revenue generated by the airport would be used for this and any other projects at DEN. Importantly, the Great Hall project would not interrupt or take the place of any other airport improvement projects. The DEN capital improvement plan ensures that the entire airport is maintained, including runways, taxiways, roads and other infrastructure.

This project is expected to create 400-450 construction jobs, more than 800 permanent jobs and generate an additional $3.5 million in annual taxes and general fund revenue for the City of Denver.

What's Next

City Council has approved the project, and construction is set to begin summer of 2018, with the project completed by late 2021. Visit this site regularly for updated information.