Denver's $1B National Western Center to begin construction in 2018
- Denver officials hope to get started with construction early next year on the $1 billion National Western Center by issuing the project's first contracts, including one worth an estimated $250 million for site and road work, according to The Denver Post.
- The 250-acre development's master plan includes construction of public plazas, a new transit station and a bigger Stock Show campus, all representing an overhaul of the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum sites, according to the city of Denver. Changes to the master plan have lowered the total development cost from $1.1 billion to $1 billion.
- The project's first two phases should be completed by 2024, with groundbreaking on the new equestrian and livestock facilities tentatively scheduled for 2021. The development will also include a 10,000-seat replacement for the Denver Coliseum, an exposition center and redevelopment of the 1909 Stadium Arena, but the city has yet to secure funding for those future phases.
Besides the center development, Denver is planning a number of major transportation construction projects.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has teamed up with Kiewit Meridiam Partners (KMP) to expand Interstate 70 through Denver. Construction costs are estimated to be $1.3 billion, but the city will pay KMP $2.2 billion over the next 30 years, an amount which includes repayment of financing costs, as well as maintenance and operation fees.
Some have pushed back against the project, which they say will result in gentrification, an argument rooted in the planned demolition of 56 homes and 17 businesses in an area with a mostly Hispanic population. The city maintains that the community will benefit from construction through the creation of 5,000 jobs, 20% of which will be set aside for local residents.
Environmentalists have also challenged the project on the basis that construction will disturb a Superfund site, and that the CDOT did not adequately account for a nearby drainage system that will be impacted.
Meanwhile, in August, Denver officials approved a $1.8 billion public-private partnership with a Ferrovial-led consortium for the $650 million renovation of Denver International Airport's Jeppesen Terminal. The consortium will also carry out a 34-year concession management contract that will deliver a $1.2 billion payout. Construction includes the relocation and modernization of security checkpoints, renovation of ticketing areas and additional self-check-in kiosks.
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