$650 Million DIA Expansion Would Add To Canopy Design

Taxpayer Money Would Not Be Used For 500 Room Hotel, Train Station, Train Bridge

The airport design you've grown accustomed to for 15 years may be altered at a cost of $650 million.

Denver International Airport unveiled the design for its planned expansion, which includes a 500-room hotel, train station from downtown Denver and new rail bridge that would go over Peña Boulevard.

"Let me emphasize no general or city tax dollars will be used on this project. We generate money; we generate revenue, and we have never used general fund money," said DIA Aviation Director Kim Day. "We rely on our own revenue plus federal grants for everything we do."

The $650 million estimate has not been approved. The project will be vetted by Denver City Council in the fall.

View images and animations of the expansion project by visiting the South Terminal Redevelopment Program website.

"We will not build anything we cannot afford. This will be a transparent process, and let me assure everyone here, particularly our airline partners, we will not do anything that negatively impacts this airport's financial future or our competitiveness," said Day. "Though we are only 15 years old, it's time to look forward and to plan for the future."

The design would change the look of the outside of the airport. The building on the south side of the terminal would incorporate arches, canopies and podiums.

"The airport has got to welcome people and make them want to use the train, take some of the pressure off the congested highways," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. "This redevelopment design respects and compliments the original iconic architectural facility."

A rail line bridge would need to be built over Peña Boulevard. The original estimate for that bridge was $25 million, but recently those figures have more than doubled. On Thursday, however, Day told 7NEWS that the project estimates have not been broken down piece-by-piece.

"We don't today have an estimate for the bridge. We are so conceptual here. We're talking about an overall program cost of $650 million for phase one," said Day.

The rail line would drop off and pick up passengers in a new plaza at the base of the new hotel structure. The rail line would start at Union Station, but the cost to upgrade Union Station is not the responsibility of the airport.

Phase two of the expansion would include a new parking structure and renovations to the Jeppesen Terminal Great Hall. The estimated cost of a potential second phase is $250 million.