Denver fires company contracted to renovate airport

A work zone at Denver's airport in June.
A work zone at Denver's airport in June. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

Amid construction delays, Denver International Airport will terminate a $1.8 billion deal with the company that had been contracted to renovate its main Jeppesen terminal. 

"Clearly we are disappointed. This is not the outcome we anticipated," airport CEO Kim Day said in a press conference Tuesday. 

The move followed failed mediation efforts. The redevelopment has been underway since last summer and much of the airport's main terminal is a construction zone, closed off to the public. In a June report, the contractor, Great Hall Partners, said the project would be delayed 931 calendar days from the originally scheduled completion date of November 2021 due to weakness in the airport's concrete, which was originally poured in 1991.

Great Hall now has up to 90 days to vacate the airport, Day said. The company was working with the city-owned airport in a public-private partnership under which it was to design and construct the terminal renovation and then assume operations and maintenance of portions of the airport for 30 years. Day said the airport would now take full control of the project and will hire a new contractor with hopes of having that company mobilized by early next year.

She did not give a new completion timeline but said the scope of the project could be curtailed in order to stay within the original budget. The airport is not yet sure how much the contract termination will cost, but the amount will include Great Hall Partners' 25% investment in the $650-$770 million design and construction project as well as contract breakage costs. 

In a statement, Great Hall said it was "disappointed with DEN's decision and strongly disagrees with their characterizations of how we have arrived at this point." 

"We categorically reject their allegations around safety and change directives. ... Indeed, the concerns we raised over concrete that was weaker than initially represented by DEN were an important part of our safety analysis. ... The reality is that the project's time and cost overruns are a direct result of the discovery of weak concrete in some areas of the terminal, which DEN did not disclose to GHP at the outset of the project, and more than 20 large-scale, badly timed and unnecessary change directives issued by DEN to the design they had previously approved."  

Under the Great Hall contract, the renovation was to include consolidating ticket lobbies, relocating security screening, a new post-security retail concession area and new meet-and-greet areas.

This report was updated Tuesday with Great Hall Partners' statement.

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