Denver airport plans to issue nearly $4 billion in debt as it looks ahead to more projects

Denver International Airport has won city leaders’ approval to issue nearly $4 billion in bonds, a massive amount that will help pay both for big-ticket projects and to refinance old debt.

About 70% of the debt approved Monday night by the Denver City Council is new. Those revenue bonds will raise an estimated $2.4 billion in upfront proceeds to cover later phases of the Great Hall terminal renovation project and finishing work on several gate expansion projects on DIA’s concourses, according to a presentation last month to a council committee. Also covered: a new ground gate facility for Frontier Airlines on Concourse A, a baggage system modernization project and new de-icing pads for planes.

The new bonds include one that will replace a short-term $700 million bond issued last year to raise immediate cash for the projects while DIA was working out its longer-term capital plans. At the time, airport officials said they planned to replace it with a longer-term bond within a year.

The rest in the upcoming batch are “refunding bonds” that enable DIA to effectively refinance older debt — some of it dating to 2007 — with more favorable interest rates or terms. City finance officials estimate the move will save about $21 million in current dollars.

Guadalupe Gutierrez, the Denver Department of Finance’s managing director of capital funding, said issuing so much debt in coming months will allow DIA to lock down interest rates before they rise, as expected.

The council previously approved contracts for the growing airport’s expansion projects, but the bonds are needed to generate the money to pay for them.

DIA is gearing up for a new round of projects, though The Denver Post reported this month that the airport risks falling behind on some fronts, including the capacity of its underground concourse train, as …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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