Boardwalk concept for Public-Private Partnerships

P3 Case Study 01

Northwest Parkway
Public Highway Authority

The Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority (Authority) is the owner of an 8.4-mile limited access toll road in a dynamically-growing area of the Denver metropolitan area (Project). The Project opened in 2003 as a publicly-owned toll road and connects with several toll and non-toll highways, including E-470, I-25, U.S. 36 and U.S. 287, providing convenient access to residential and commercial centers in the region.

In 2007, the Authority entered into a 99-year concession and lease agreement (CLA) with Brisa, a Portuguese toll road owner and operator, for the full operation, maintenance and toll collection on the Project. The CLA effectively provides full risk transfer for the Project to the concessionaire. Project revenues are generated by tolls through an all-electronic tolling system.

The Authority engaged Columbia Capital in 2016 to advise it on Brisa’s potential transfer of the CLA to a new concessionaire and/or operator. Under the CLA, the concessionaire has the right to transfer all of its interests and obligations under the CLA to a third-party, subject to review and consent by the Authority. Columbia Capital initially advised the Authority on the development of a termination offer which would have allowed the Authority to negotiate key changes to the CLA to be executed with a new partner post-termination, increasing the likelihood of completion of extensions to the Parkway. Ultimately, Brisa favored a bid from an international consortium of infrastructure fund investors for an outright purchase of Brisa’s interests in the CLA.

Columbia Capital advised the Authority on the transfer process and managed the transferee due diligence review undertaking. Although many aspects of the proposed transfer remain confidential, media reports at the time indicated that the transferee—a partnership of Canadian, British and Dutch infrastructure funds—paid approximately $498 million for the CLA transfer.