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DENVER, CO—Engineering work has begun on a new $200 million air-cargo facility on 60 acres at the Denver International Airport. Construction will start on October 1, says John M. Lasell, vice president of Bovis Lend Lease, the general contractor.

WorldPort is the first so-called “through the fence” cargo operation at DIA, one of the nation’s busiest airports. That means that the cargo operation actually will be on DIA property to expedite the movement of cargo. The project will create 1,581 direct jobs and more than double the 450,000 tons of cargo currently shipped annually from DIA.

The first phase, estimated at $63 million, includes $54 million in tax-exempt bonds that were sold by the city last April in less than 30 minutes, says Stephen E. Howard, senior vice president of public finance for Lehman Brothers, one of several Wall Street investment houses involved in the deal. Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and George K. Baum of Denver also were involved in the financing.

New York City-based Aviation Development Services LLC and Denver-based Fulenwider, Prather and Thompson LLC are the developers. The first phase is scheduled for a fall 2001 completion. US Customs has agreed to lease 8,000 sf in the first building, which will have 50,000 feet. Several other leases are in the works.

The 53-square-mile DIA—larger than the island of Manhattan and big enough to hold both Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago’s O’Hare airports—is surrounded by 25,000 acres of land that can be developed, Daniel B. Muscatello, vice president of Business Development for Aviation Development Services told GlobeSt.com.

In the future, airports with land constraints will most likely spend money on expanding and improving passenger service, rather than on cargo facilities, he projects.

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