Gaylord Rockies Resort was anything but a sure bet
ALDO SVALDI, of the Denver Post, has a great article about Gaylord Rockies Resort and Conference Center and the resistance faced in building the center.
Below is an excerpt with a link to the full article.
A day may come when people take the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora for granted. Kind of like how Coors Field, the Colorado Convention Center or Denver International Airport seem like they were always meant to be there. Yet, the bitterly contested project, set to open soon south of DIA, teetered on the edge of failure more than once. There was nothing inevitable about it.
“It was a rough voyage, especially at the beginning,” said Ira Mitzner, president of Houston-based RIDA Development Corp. “It was big and people were nervous. But what people didn’t realize is that we were very undersupplied in Colorado for large meeting spaces.”
The use of public dollars to fund private projects is always controversial. The $800 million resort wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without substantial public support from Aurora, $300 million, and the state, $81.4 milion.
Gaylord Rockies had to overcome three lawsuits, a bill in the legislature designed to kill it, calls for a state audit of its incentives, hesitant investors and later on a tight market for construction workers. More than once, the project seemed done for, only to come back, thanks in part to the tenacious support of Aurora of cials. The resort, the state’s largest with 1,501 rooms and more than 486,000 square feet of meeting space, is set to open on Dec. 18.