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Downtown Denver Business Could Suffer With Proposed Aurora Resort

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An artist's rendering of the resort (credit: Gaylord Entertainment)

An artist’s rendering of the resort (credit: Gaylord Entertainment)

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DENVER (CBS4)- The proposed hotel and convention center project in Aurora, just minutes from the Denver International Airport, may impact businesses in downtown Denver.

The plan in Aurora is to put a Western-themed Gaylord Resort and Convention Hotel on 85 acres, less than ten minutes from DIA.

“There is no reason on earth where this site sits why this can’t be a mega development over the next ten years. We really think this can happen here,” said Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed.

Gaylord Entertainment has similar projects in Dallas and Washington. There is also Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn.

The Gaylord Resort expects to break ground in late 2012 and open in 2015. The resort is expected to create about 1,500 permanent jobs, in addition to construction jobs.

“It’s a private company coming to Colorado and saying I want to invest a half a billion of private money – actually more than that in your community. I can’t think of a better win for the entire region,” said Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer.

“We know it’s going to have an impact on downtown Denver,” said Visit Denver spokesman Richard Scharf.

Visit Denver has commissioned a study on exactly the extent of the impact.

The Gaylord Resort slated for Aurora will house about 20 percent of the entire downtown Denver hotel market. It’s convention campus is about half the size of the Colorado Convention Center.

gaylord map Downtown Denver Business Could Suffer With Proposed Aurora Resort

(credit: CBS)

“Guys, you shouldn’t be fearful what we’re going to do, you should understand we’re going to bring a lot more customers here and a lot more boats will rise on this rising tide,” said Reed.

The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is expected to move to a facility near the planned complex. However, stock show organizers and Gaylord don’t have a deal or a contract yet.

CEO and president of National Western, Paul Andrews, said the event has been eyeballing the High Point site on the Aurora-Denver border for some time now and is excited about the prospect of having Gaylord in the area.

“The National Western Stock Show continues to work with the city of Denver as we explore the High Point area as a possible option for the National Western complex in the future,” Andrews said.

The stock show has been considering a move because the 90-acre show is fenced in on all sides by highways, rivers, railroad tracks, streets and houses. The show draws thousands of spectators, farmers and ranchers and attracts a national crowd because it’s a showcase for the latest in genetics and breeding.

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