Gaylord Western Complex Snags National Western Stock Show (UPDATE)

06/21/2011 02:16 pm ET | Updated Aug 21, 2011

The Aurora City Council approved a $300 million incentive package mid-June to help build an $800 million, Western-themed hotel and entertainment complex.

An announcement is expected in Aurora Tuesday by Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed. Gaylord Entertainment also owns the Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in addition to resorts in Orlando, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

The Denver Post reports that the National Western Stock Show has selected the Aurora site to host the event. Stock show officials intend to request the Denver City Council release them from an agreement to stage the event downtown until 2040. Officials hope to finance part of the relocation through Denver-issued general obligation bonds.


Construction on the sit will begin in mid-to-late 2012. Once completed, the hotel and resort will have 1,500 rooms, 400,000 square feet of meeting space, and "a dramatic atrium setting" with panoramic views of the Rockies. The hotel will be the largest in the metro area, and will be located 10 minutes from the Denver International Airport. Downtown Denver's Colorado Convention Center will remain the largest conference space in the metro area with 2.2 million square feet of room.

"We are thrilled by the prospect of a Gaylord property in the Denver Market, which has fast become one of the most desirable tourist and business travel destinations in the United States and a destination of choice for meeting planners and conventions," said Reed in a statement Tuesday.

Aurora has pledged to re-invest virtually all of the new taxes generated by the resort and convention center back into the project. "This project will bring thousands of new visitors to Colorado, "said Ed Tauer, Mayor of Aurora. "The community benefits are awesome."

The project is expected to create around 1,800 new jobs in Aurora, but is not without controversy. If the National Western Stock Show does indeed move from downtown Denver to Aurora, it will end a 105 year Denver tradition to say nothing of lost revenue for the city.

Writes Westword's Patricia Calhoun, "for a taste of the old West meeting the new, it's hard to beat the experience of standing under the I-70 overpass, drinking a Coors and watching the passing parade. Modern Denver may not appreciate its cowtown image, but it should fight for its cowtown cash."

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