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Magic Johnson Could Be Part Of Major Makeover At DIA

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver International Airport is preparing for a major makeover and basketball legend Magic Johnson could be part of it.

"We love special projects and this is a special project," Earvin "Magic" Johnson, owner of Magic Johnson Enterprises, said Wednesday.

Magic Johnson (credit: CBS)

DIA has selected a consortium it would like to partner with to make significant changes to security, shopping and baggage claim in the Jeppesen Terminal. Johnson's company is an equity partner.

"You've already changed downtown and now that movement is going out toward the airport. I want to really be a part of that change," Johnson said to a Denver City Council committee.

The meeting on Wednesday (credit: CBS)

On Wednesday afternoon a newly created business committee heard from Johnson along with executives from Saunders Construction and Ferrovial Airports, the bid team lead, about the pre-agreement plans for the overhaul. Ferrovial Airports is known for its controversial projects at London's Heathrow Airport, and is DIA's preferred private partner for the so-called Great Hall Project.

"We can promise you it will be like something unlike you've seen at the airport," Kim Day, CEO of DIA, said during the meeting.

Yet for Johnson, the project is more than just an airport makeover. He said it is also about reaching out to Denver's inner-city kids and teaching them the importance of education.

Magic Johnson (credit: CBS)

"A lot of those kids grew up like I did, poor, and I think they should understand how I got to this point," Johnson said. "Forget the basketball side of it, I'm talking the education side and knowing they can do anything in life through education."

With unanimous committee approval, Ferrovial Airports will now begin drafting design and finance plans to present to Denver City Council. They expect to present those plans in the next six to eight months. If the city decides not to move forward with the project presented, it could owe upwards of $9 million to own the plans.

(credit: CBS)

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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