DENVER (CBS4) – Denver International Airport’s Great Hall project will likely resume construction early next year after the City of Denver terminated the contract with the developer. The developer, Great Hall Partners, has been fired “for convenience” and saying ending the contract is “in the best interest” of the airport.
DIA Chief Executive Officer Kim Day provided information about the termination of the contract in a news conference on Tuesday morning.
“We are very far apart in terms of cost and schedule and our values, prioritizing safety the passengers experience and our airline operations. This termination gives us control of the project going forward – we can now complete the project in a timely manner,” said Day.
Day also discussed the timeline for resuming the project as well as the cost to the City of Denver.
Terminating a contract “for convenience” is a standard clause in government contracts which gives the government — in this case DIA and the City of Denver — the right to unilaterally end the contract without giving a specific reason. Sources told CBS4 that Denver officials delivered the news to Great Hall Partners via a letter sent overnight.
In July, Denver had threatened to end the contract. This week the city followed through on that threat. Sources say the termination will take effect in November, giving the current developer three months to wrap up.
The terminal redevelopment — started in 2018 — was supposed to cost $650 million and be completed by 2021. But it has been beset by problems nearly from the start. Concerns about the strength of the concrete in the terminal, coupled with change orders from the airport, led Great Hall Partners to project a $311 million cost overrun and a projected delay of as much as three years.
Great Hall Partners released this statement: “We are disappointed with DEN’s decision and strongly disagree with their characterizations of how we have arrived at this point. We categorically reject their allegations around safety and change directives. As a firm, we have among the best track records in the world for adhering to the highest standards for safety. Indeed, the concerns we raised over concrete that was weaker than initially represented by DEN, were an important part of our safety analysis. In fact, the project contractor has a “recordable incident rate” of almost half of the national rate and has a zero “lost time injury rate.”
Unfortunately, until this point, confidentiality provisions in our contract prevented us from rebutting over the last several weeks a stream of unfounded complaints and allegations. The reality is that the Project’s time and cost overruns are a direct result of the discovery of weak concrete in some areas of the Terminal, which DEN did not disclose to GHP at the outset of the Project, and more than 20 large-scale, badly timed and unnecessary change directives issued by DEN to the design they had previously approved.
As DEN itself said in its press conference today, our Company has extensive global experience in successfully delivering major projects such as this on time and on budget. We would have preferred to work with DEN to bring this important project to successful fruition and believed with thoughtful intervention that this was still possible. We wish the people of Denver well and are committed to a professional and smooth withdrawal.”
Saunders Construction released this statement: “Saunders Construction is proud of our work to date – and the efforts of all of our partners – on the Great Hall project. We are committed to a seamless and professional transition of work to DEN in the coming months.
Saunders remains ever-focused on providing top-notch client service while delivering premier projects in an honest, timely and safe manner. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve as the construction partner to many leading projects throughout the region. We sincerely value the continued trust we have formed with our partners, including DEN and the City and County of Denver, as well as the broader community.”