by Julie Smith
Public Information Officer
Denver International Airport
Standing atop the new hotel under construction at Denver International Airport (DIA), the view of downtown Denver, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains stretched out before you, it’s easy to see why airport officials are excited about their new addition. Not only will Denver join the ranks of the world’s top airports offering on-site hotel accommodations, the new Hotel and Transit Center program will connect DIA to Denver like never before.
Made up of three integrated projects, the program includes construction of a new 519-room Westin hotel and conference center, a public transit center which includes a commuter rail station and a centralized pick-up and drop-off location for all public transit buses, and a new 82,000 square foot public plaza.
It’s the new public plaza that DIA’s CEO Kim Day is looking forward to the most. “The plaza that we are creating is going to be a great urban space, connecting our new hotel and transit center to our existing Jeppesen Terminal. It will provide a venue for music, art and events, and will create a cultural connection to downtown, better integrating the airport into the community.”
It was the idea of connectivity that inspired the design of the entire space. From the train platform, it’s just a quick escalator ride to the terminal and easy access to security screening. From the terminal, arriving passengers are just a few hundred feet from the hotel.
Snaking out from the transit center, the tracks of the new East Rail Line stretch toward the horizon. When rail operations begin in early 2016, commuter trains will connect travelers between DIA and downtown Denver in about 35 minutes. The new 22.8 mile rail line also offers opportunities for transit-oriented developments along what’s been dubbed a “Corridor of Opportunity” by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
DIA’s new Hotel and Transit Center is both the final piece of the airport’s original master plan and the first piece of Denver’s Airport City initiative. It completes the original vision for DIA and opens a new chapter for growth around the world’s second largest airport in terms of land mass. Opening in late 2015, DIA’s next chapter is about to take flight.