DIA Revises Vision For South Terminal

Deadline Still 2015 for $500M Redesign

Denver International Airport says its new design for its south terminal should cost about $500 million, or $150 million less than the original.

A city council committee unanimously approved a contract amendment on Wednesday with Parsons Transportation Group and Gensler Architects and Anderson, Mason, Dale to extend some of the ideas presented by Spanish "star-chitect" Santiago Calatrava in the summer of 2010.

But a budget cutback of $150 million caused Calatrava to leave the project this fall.

Aviation manager Kim Day said the changes in the new design are "not a significant difference" and that the nearly $13 million paid to Calatrava was worthwhile.

"Absolutely. He worked for over two years. He tested various massing options. He gave us the bones,” Day said. “Calatrava is so much more than an aesthetician. He’s a problem solver. He is the one who resolved the adjacencies, that developed the overall solution and that absolutely was worth the money that we paid him.”

The new design, unveiled for city council committee members Wednesday includes a shorter Westin hotel and conference center, still will 500 rooms, a smaller RTD light rail station, less steel and more glass than in the previous design.

“I frankly like this design even better,” said councilman Charlie Brown, adding he's confident that this time the project will get off the ground. "It’s going to be a great thing for our city, for DIA, for the traveling public.”

If the full council approves the contracts, the project moves forward with the goal of turning over the space for the light rail station in late 2014.

The rest is scheduled for completion in 2015, DIA's 20th anniversary.

“And we’re very confident that we are on track to do so,” Day said.

Construction has already begun.

When asked what the announced Gaylord Hotels project just a few miles away in Aurora would do to business at the Westin, Day said studies have shown "a minor impact."

“It’s a different market. The people who use our hotel are people who are flying,” Day said.

Travelers can look for June as a key date, Day said, when access roads to the west parking garage will be disrupted for up to a year.

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