Breaking up is hard to do—and sometimes it's expensive.

Denver International Airport will pay an additional $55 million to a P3 led by Ferrovial Airports to terminate renovation work on the main terminal. That brings the total of payments DIA has made to the consortium known as Great Hall Partners to $184 million.

Work on the project was stopped last year when the airport used a convenience clause to fire the contracting team on the $650-million renovation, after only 13 months of work.

The final settlement, first reported by The Denver Post, became public March 21. Negotiations were completed on March 13.

The two sides reached an impasse after months of squabbling over change orders, alleged micromanagement by airport officials, concrete-testing delays and possible safety issues [ENR, Aug. 21, 2019].

The firing also ended the airport’s $1.8-billion, 34-year public-private partnership with Great Hall Partners, led by Ferrovial Airports, with design-build partners Saunders/JLC Infrastructure.

Great Hall Partners had filed claims totaling $290 million. The $55-million payment also settles those claims, and the $184-million total is within the range of $170 million to $210 million that DIA anticipated after terminating the agreement.

The Great Hall renovation includes relocating TSA security positions to the north end of the terminal, consolidating unused ticket counters and adding more food and retail concessions, among other upgrades.

“The final payment means that we can close the door on the past and move forward,” airport officials said in a statement.

Work Resumes With a New Team

Meanwhile, DIA announced that construction started again in early March on the Great Hall, with Stantec as the lead designer and Hensel Phelps serving as construction manager and general contractor.  

Hensel Phelps’s contract is $195 million for Phase 1, estimated to be complete by late 2021. Phase 1 work includes:

  • Completing demolition in the center of the terminal on Level 6.

  • Constructing new airline ticket counters in the center of Level 6.

  • Widening the balconies for the future TSA checkpoints on Level 6.

  • Adding two new restrooms on both the east and west sides.

  • Upgrades to existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure.

Airport officials maintain the entire renovation can still be done within the original $770-million budget, which included a $120-million contingency.

The design and scope of additional phases are still being determined and will be announced later this summer, airport officials said.