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Denver International Airport’s Iconic Terminal To Become Traveler’s Oasis Once Again


Great Hall Project to Improve Security, Passenger Experience

A rendering of what the renovated Great Hall at DEN will look like when construction is completed.DENVER – Aug. 15, 2017 – More than two decades after opening, the Great Hall beneath the iconic tented roof of Denver International Airport’s (DEN) Jeppesen Terminal will be updated to address today’s aviation needs through a project that will greatly enhance security, increase capacity, improve passenger flow and return the terminal to a passenger oasis.

The Denver City Council, very early Tuesday morning, gave final approval to the Great Hall project, which will leverage an innovative public-private partnership (P3) to make substantial improvements to levels 5 and 6 within the 1.5-million-square-foot Jeppesen Terminal.

“Denver is becoming a global city, and we must continue to invest in an airport that matches that status,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “This project represents what Denver has long excelled at – preparing our city for the future. The Great Hall project will address vulnerabilities, improve the passenger experience, create hundreds of new jobs and provide the capacity to match the world’s growing desire to travel to and from the Mile High City.”

The Great Hall project will greatly enhance security by moving today’s exposed TSA screening checkpoints from level 5 to level 6, and create a new prototype for TSA that will increase passenger throughout by an estimated 50-70 percent. Today, DEN has 30 standard checkpoint lanes that accommodate about 4,500 passengers per hour. The Great Hall project will include 34 state-of-the-art automated screening lanes, which can each serve an estimated total 8,500 passengers per hour. The new checkpoints, which will be consolidated from three areas of the terminal into two, will feature increased queuing space and new technology for more effective and efficient security and an improved experience.

This project also will increase the capacity for the future, allowing the airport to grow its operations in the terminal and concourses to match increasing passenger demand. These changes will allow the airport to recapture the original spirit of the terminal as a relaxing and vibrant experience, via new shops and restaurants, enhanced flight information displays, children’s play areas, relaxing seating and more.

“The Great Hall project is critically important to ensuring the safety and success of Denver International Airport for decades to come,” airport CEO Kim Day said. “Although DEN remains the country’s youngest commercial airport, no one could have predicted how security and technology would fundamentally change the aviation industry and passenger processing over the last two decades. By investing in this project, we will prepare DEN for the future: enhancing security, increasing capacity, updating aging systems and elevating the overall passenger experience.”

The Great Hall project will include upgrades for the entire terminal, including escalators and elevators, restrooms and other infrastructure that is now more than 22 years old. Other benefits include:

  • Enhancing the security of the terminal by removing today’s exposed checkpoints
  • Increasing TSA throughput by an estimated 50-70 percent
  • Increasing capacity of the terminal to accommodate future growth
  • Better utilization of airline ticket spaces, increasing check-in counter space
  • Creating a new meeting/greeting area at the south end of the terminal, and a new “front door” from the plaza to the airport, including a children’s play area and flight information displays
  • Creating a new international passenger welcome center with seating, food and retail
  • Improving food and retail offerings in the terminal
  • Upgrading entire facility: escalators, elevators, restrooms, security and more
  • Curbside improvements for increased passenger drop-off capacity, including an express drop off location adjacent to the TSA checkpoints for passengers without checked bags

To achieve this vision, DEN will utilize a P3 model that seeks the creativity, expertise and capital from the private sector to help reimagine the layout and use of the terminal. The selected private-sector team, Great Hall Partners, is led by Ferrovial Aeropuertos with Saunders Concessions and Magic Johnson Enterprises/Loop Capital. The terms of the deal call for four years of design and construction (with construction beginning in the summer of 2018) followed by 30 years of operations and maintenance within specific areas of the terminal by Great Hall Partners. This type of project delivery method shifts the risk for price and schedule from the airport to the P3 team. DEN will remain in full control of the airport, while Great Hall Partners – which has expertise in designing and operating airports around the world – will manage and maintain limited concessions in defined areas of the terminal.

“We are very pleased to receive the approval from Denver’s City Council to continue working with DEN to develop and implement a new Great Hall that will bring enormous benefits to the City of Denver and its community,” Jorge Gil, Chief Executive Officer of Ferrovial Aeropuertos said. “We are grateful that our team has been entrusted with this project and are fully committed to bringing to life DEN’s vision of being America’s favorite connecting hub.”

The anticipated 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. Great Hall Partners will make a total investment of $378 million and be paid back over time through a combination of payments from the airport and a 20 percent share of the concession revenues from new shops and restaurants. DEN will also reimburse them for operating and maintenance costs over the 30 years. DEN will keep 80 percent of the concessions revenue and 100 percent of other revenues derived from the terminal in spaces the airport will develop. The total amount of the contract with Great Hall Partners, which includes design, construction, operations 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 is used from the city’s General Fund for any projects or operations at the airport. The Great Hall 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. All of DEN’s current job postings are available online at Learn more about the project, or sign up for ongoing updates, at

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!