Denver International Airport is negotiating to take over the WorldPort cargo development. The project on airport land has failed to thrive since it was envisioned as a grand opportunity for DIA seven years ago.
WorldPort developer Lehman Brothers turned WorldPort over to its letter of credit provider, JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase is the current owner of WorldPort.
"We're in negotiations with them about what to do with it," said DIA spokesman Steve Snyder. The airport is in negotiations with JPMorgan for acquisition of the WorldPort leasehold, according to an annual report.
"We're very pleased with the nature of the negotiations and our hopeful outcome," said JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Mary Jane Rogers.
DIA celebrated the groundbreaking of WorldPort in 2000, when it was believed to hold promise for DIA to be a leading regional air cargo hub. Part of the area is a foreign trade zone.
Denver-based Fulenwider, Prather &
Thompson LLC developed WorldPort with a New York partner and Lehman Brothers. Fulenwider later sold its share to Lehman Brothers.
Early expectations were for a project worth up to $100 million with up to 750,000 square feet, which would be privately built and financed. The potential was for $1.3 million in annual rent to DIA and about 1,500 jobs.
It was envisioned as a project that could help grow air cargo shipped through Denver by one-third within five years.
But that didn't come to fruition. Current tenants in one of two roughly 50,000-square-
foot WorldPort buildings are U.S. Customs and Matheson Flight Extenders. It has been a years-long struggle to fill up the remaining space.
The region's high-tech industry struggled, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks stymied air travel, and WorldPort was left behind.
While passenger traffic through the airport hits record levels, air cargo continues to decline at DIA. For the year through August, cargo at the airport declined by 7.4 percent to 390.8 million pounds from 422.1 million pounds, compared with the same period of 2006. Cargo airlines including DHL have cut the amount of cargo they carry through DIA. Passenger carriers have also cut cargo they carry through DIA.
It's unclear how DIA would potentially use the vacant WorldPort space.
Separately, DIA is planning to develop a pet day care and boarding facility along Peña Boulevard on the way to the terminal. Wag Hotels, All American Pet Resorts and Pet Resorts Inc. have submitted proposals, according to DIA's website.
Kelly Yamanouchi: 303-954-1488 or
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