Let There Be LIGHT! Gaylord Rockies Open for Business.

No, it's not a mirage. The Gaylord Rockies has opened.
No, it's not a mirage. The Gaylord Rockies has opened.
Light! at Gaylord Rockies Facebook
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

It seems like the massive hotel complex on the prairie by Denver International Airport popped up almost overnight. But not to the people behind the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, which welcomed its first guests on December 18.

“If you followed the press over the last decade, you know this day almost never came,” Ira Mitzner, president of Houston-based RIDA Development Corp., told the crowd gathered in the Gaylord Rockies lobby for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

RIDA developed the $800 million project after the original development partner, Gaylord Entertainment, dropped out. Three Aurora mayors worked on the deal before it was completed. In the meantime, the Gaylord Rockies faced down three lawsuits, as well as a bill in the Colorado Legislature that sought to kill it and a state audit of RTA incentives.

Ten more stats on the Gaylord Rockies:

• Aurora kicked in $300 million to support the project.

• The state contributed $81.4 million to the project.

• It took eight banks to finance the project.

• The project created 10,000 construction jobs.

• The Gaylord Rockies created up to 1,500 permanent jobs.

• The Gaylord has 1,501 rooms and 486,000 square feet of meeting space.

• 1.1 million room nights were booked before the hotel officially opened.

• 81 percent of the groups that have been booked have never held meetings in Colorado.

• 3,000 insurance executives are attending a conference with GAMA International, the first group to check into the Gaylord Rockies.

• The Gaylord Rockies is expected to generate $275 million of economic activity annually.

Want to see the place for yourself? You don't need to check in to check out the Gaylord Rockies (although a locals-only deal offers rooms starting at $119 a night); the complex is currently hosting a LIGHT!, a holiday light show that's free (but beware parking charges).

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.