Less “Mus­tang,” more wel­come

$11.5 mil­lion project will put new dig­i­tal face on Den­ver’s air­port for trav­el­ers.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jon Murray

The Den­ver City Coun­cil took sev­eral votes Mon­day con­cern­ing air­port op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing one that will lay out a 1,000-foot wel­come mat for trav­el­ers.

Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port and Pana­sonic En­ter­prise So­lu­tions — which is part of the nearby Peña Sta­tion Next smart city de­vel­op­ment — will team up on a $11.5 mil­lion project that will use dy­namic LED-lighted poles and screens. The ef­fect, air­port of­fi­cials say, will be an iconic “rib­bon” of mov­ing light along Peña Boule­vard. DIA will cover $7 mil­lion of the cost.

The coun­cil also ap­proved new five-year con­tracts with DIA’s cur­rent park­ing and shut­tle bus con­trac­tors that are worth a com­bined $268 mil­lion.

And coun­cil mem­bers gave their bless­ing to an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment with Adams County and sev­eral sub­ur­ban cities that will cre­ate a re­gional agency fo­cused on pro­mot­ing de­vel­op­ment of a job-cre­at­ing aerotropo­lis sur­round­ing DIA.

All of those mat­ters won the coun­cil’s ap­proval in block votes.

A mas­sive wel­come to DIA

Trav­el­ers by late sum­mer or fall should re­ceive a more wel­com­ing greet­ing to DIA be­fore they spot “Mus­tang,” the 32-foot blue horse with glowing red eyes that some have seen as lit­tle sin­is­ter.

“We’re talk­ing about 1,000 feet and LED. And to our knowl­edge noth­ing like this has ever been done be­fore,” Stu Wil­liams, DIA’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of spe­cial projects, told a coun­cil com­mit­tee this month.

Among air­ports with sig­na­ture wel­comes, Los Angeles In­ter­na­tional Air­port has gi­gan­tic let­ters spell­ing out “LAX.” But DIA and Pana­sonic are aim­ing for some­thing that will set Den­ver apart.

The in­stal­la­tion in the Peña Boule­vard me­dian will be vis­i­ble to driv­ers in both di­rec­tions just east of E-470, be­fore the over­head cross­ing of the new Univer­sity of Colorado A-Line train.

Af­ter split­ting up-front costs (Pana­sonic will kick in $4.5 mil­lion), the city and Pana­sonic will share in­come from ad­ver­tis­ing on parts of the sign over the next 16 years. DIA’s share will be about 43 per­cent, which air­port of­fi­cials say should cover its costs in the long run.

Big con­tracts for park­ing, shut­tles

Two main con­trac­tors for years have op­er­ated DIA’s far-flung garages and park­ing lots and shut­tled pas­sen­gers and em­ploy­ees to the ter­mi­nal.

In its new contract, SP Plus

Cor­po­ra­tion (Stan­dard Park­ing) will con­tinue to run cus­tomer ser­vice, col­lect park­ing fees and pro­vide jump-starts to cus­tomers in need. Its contract is set at $90 mil­lion, run­ning from Feb. 1 through Jan­uary 2022.

On the shut­tle side, ABM Park­ing Ser­vices’s new $178 mil­lion contract cov­ers the same pe­riod. But it will ex­pand its cur­rent role of op­er­at­ing the routes by also pro­vid­ing buses and main­tain­ing them, as DIA has done un­til now. An air­port spokes­woman says DIA projects it will save money by re­duc­ing its costs in those ar­eas.

Park­ing is DIA’s largest source of non-air­line in­come, pro­jected to bring in $178 mil­lion this year from more than 44,000 spa­ces in garages and long-term lots.

Aerotropo­lis pro­mo­tion

In 2015, Den­ver and Adams County vot­ers ap­proved an agree­ment in which the pre­vi­ously bat­tling gov­ern­ments would al­low com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment on DIA prop­erty. Den­ver’s sub­ur­ban neigh­bors also were com­pet­ing to lever­age their prox­im­ity to DIA.

That deal called for the part­ners to “form a new re­gional en­tity to pro­mote and mar­ket de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties on and around” the air­port and “as­sist in co­or­di­nat­ing land use and in­fra­struc­ture plan­ning ef­forts.”

Still un­clear is how much the new agency will cost. The new agree­ment ap­proved by Den­ver’s coun­cil Mon­day sets a March 31 dead­line for a pro­posed bud­get.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.