Denver’s Mayor Michael B. Hancock and a group of tourism and civic leaders marked a major construction milestone on Denver International Airport’s South Terminal Redevelopment Program on August 29, 2012.
As part of the Program, the airport is building a new 500-room Westin Hotel and a new rail station. The hotel is projected to open in 2015 and the electric commuter rail line serving the new station will open in 2016. The 22.8 mile rail line will run trains as often as every 15 minutes, taking just 30 minutes to get from the airport to Union Station in downtown Denver.
“When the rail line is completed, Denver will be the easiest, most convenient and most central meeting location in the nation,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The city is just 340 miles from the exact center of the Continental U.S., closer to the exact center than any city our size. We are served by the fifth busiest airport – 11th busiest in the world – and we will have easy and fast rail service directly from the airport to our walkable downtown. Once downtown, meeting delegates will find 9,000 hotel rooms, 300 restaurants, great shopping, nightlife and a wide variety of cultural attractions and museums, all in a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment just a few minutes walk from the state-of-the-art Colorado Convention Center,” Scharf said.
The new South Terminal Redevelopment Program at Denver International Airport will complete the original vision of the facility. In addition to the new hotel and Public Transit Center, the Program will build an open-air plaza, complete with new concessions and leasable space, which connects the development to the existing Jeppesen Terminal. Denver household names such as the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Elway’s restaurant and the farm-to-table restaurant Root Down will be moving into the airport shortly, and dozens of new shopping and dining experiences are expected to be added over the next few years.
At the Union Station end of the rail line, downtown Denver is also undergoing a transformation. The station is being refurbished and turned into a retail and dining center with a 130-room hotel, that will be an extension of the historic Oxford Hotel, as well as new restaurants and shops. A new city park will be built in front of the station, that will also serve as a farmer’s market and events center. Rail lines from Union Station will also extend to the Denver Tech Center, to Golden 12 miles to the West and ultimately to Boulder. They are all part of Denver’s new 120-mile light rail and commuter rail network.
Last week’s construction milestone involved transferring the weight of the iconic Jeppesen Terminal tent roof to temporary support structures. The design of the South Terminal Redevelopment Program will complement the airport’s tent architecture, which has been likened to a Native American tipi on the plains or to the distant snowcapped Rocky Mountains.
This construction milestone comes just shortly after the airport announced three new international nonstop flights to Tokyo, Mexico City and Reykjavík. These flights allow Denver to be accessible to many more Asian, European and South and Central American cities through their connecting flights.
Here a a few mock-ups of what is to come at DIA from the architect himself, Santiago Calatrava.