Stock Show Lease Will Make Move Tough
DENVER (CBS4) – The National Western Stock Show is starting to make its case for a new home.
“I think there’s a danger of us not being able to survive in functionally-obsolete buildings,” said stock show president Paul Andrews. “We cannot attract the other agricultural events that are happening throughout the country’s big horse shows; we do not have the facilities that can attract them here … we also don’t have the kind of facilities that can put country music concerts in here.”
The Stock Show wants to grow from its 95 or so acres to around 300 in Aurora. The problem for the stock show is there’s a lot of convincing to do.
“We don’t have any sort of gun to anyone’s head here. We’re the National Western Stock Show. We’re a tradition and a history in Colorado and certainly Denver and we’re going to remain here,” Andrews said.
But by remain here, he doesn’t mean here in Denver.
“And there are many moving parts to this,” said Denis Berckefeldt, spokesman for the Denver City Auditor’s office. “Not just the fact that there’s a lease that the stock show is obligated to stay at its present location until 2040.”
But it’s such a big step and potentially so costly to Denver it’s a tough sell, according to hospitality expert Dr. David Corsun of University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.
“I can’t imagine that the city council and the mayor would see it in the city’s best interest to do so,” said Corsun.
In his looking at the issue, Corsun sees worries about the Stock Show siphoning business.
“I don’t see how the hospitality community in Denver benefits from this … you’re going to get people staying out there because it’s close, particularly if the Gaylord property gets built.”
The event brings about $100 million in to the metro area. Andrews believes that amount can go a lot higher if the Stock Show is bigger and better and linked to the new mega-hotel development proposed in Aurora by Nashville hotel operator Gaylord.
“We’ve projected that at the new site it would be between $130 million and $200 million a year, thus raising the impact in the entire Denver metro area.”
But Denver City Council would have to approve breaking the lease and potentially a tax hike to help pay for the move, if it gets that far. The other possibility believe some is that the National Western would like a better deal in Denver, although Andrews doesn’t see how to grow at their current site.
Berckefeldt says there may be room to grow to the south, along Brighton Boulevard. While the reality of moving in next to the Gaylord project exists, it may end up being a way to draw more support in Denver.
“I think the city is more than willing to do what the city needs to do to try and keep the Stock Show, close proximity to downtown,” Berckefeldt said.
Is there the chance of leaving the area altogether CBS4 asked?
“That’s certainly not our intention,” said Andrews. “As you know what we’d be way too far ahead of ourselves to think anything like that. We have a lease through 2040 with the city of Denver.”
But Corsun said just bringing it up seems to indicate the possibility.
“I think they already have,” said Corsun.