Gaylord Entertainment says its huge convention-and-hotel complex plan for Aurora is not contingent on the National Western Stock Show leaving its home for 105 years in north Denver and moving right next door to the new project. And what does the Stock Show say?
Here's a note that the National Western CEO sent out yesterday, right before Gaylord held its dog-and-pony-and-pony show outlining the deal before Aurora City Council:
Later this morning, an announcement will be made by Gaylord Entertainment that they have finalized their deal to build a new Gaylord Western Hotel on the High Point site near Peña Blvd and Tower Road.
As you may be aware, we have been researching possible sites as an option for the National Western relocation and expansion and the High Point site continues to be the leading site of interest. In addition, Gaylord and the National Western continue to discuss possible business efficiencies that would be created between our two companies if we finalize a deal to be located adjacent to their property. We continue to be encouraged by the strong relationship we have with Gaylord Entertainment and are excited to see they have finalized their deal to be at the High Point site.
With Gaylord's announcement, it will surely mean the media will be expecting a comment from the National Western on why we were not part of this public announcement, since many stories have surfaced in regard to our relationship with Gaylord and the High Point site. I will be commenting that the High Point site continues to be a site of interest and that we are excited to see that Gaylord Entertainment has completed their deal to come to Colorado. It is a big economic driver for the entire State and good for job creation. The National Western 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.
Should important information on this topic surface in the future, I will be sure and notify you by e-mail.
Thanks for your continued support and have a nice week.
Paul Andrews President & CEO
The National Western's deal with Denver for the National Western Complex runs until 2040; the city has done numerous updates over the years and has committed to $150 million more -- although relocating the show's facilities next to Gaylord's planned project but still within Denver city limits (thanks to the airport annexation) could cost considerably more, But first, of course, the state would have to agree that Gaylord's project qualifies for a subsidy under the new Colorado Regional Tourism Act.
Conveniently, the governor's office is about to acquire a smart, key player who'll be able to accurately assess the current National Western facilities -- and what a move could mean to Denver. Jack Finlaw, who'd headed Denver's Division of Theatres and Arenas (now Arts and Venues) for seven years before moving over to the mayor's office, where he's now chief of staff for Mayor Bill Vidal, will soon become chief legal counsel for Governor John Hickenlooper, the man who convinced him to get into government work.
Addendum: Here's the announcement sent out last night by Gaylord Entertainment:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - June 21, 2011 - Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET) announced today its plans to develop a resort and convention hotel in Aurora, Colo. Located less than ten minutes from Denver International Airport, one of the most well-traveled and accessible airports in the world, and 25 minutes from downtown Denver, Aurora is ideally situated for both business and leisure travelers. The Aurora site will be located on 85 acres in LNR Property CPI Fund's HighPoint Master Plan Development, and will feature breathtaking panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. The company expects the resort to be open for business in mid-to-late 2015.
According to Gaylord's research of major meetings markets, the Denver metropolitan market was rated a top ten destination by meeting planners and is one of the highest growth areas in the country.
"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 anda destination of choice for meeting planners and conventions," said Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer, Gaylord Entertainment. "Our loyal customers who return over and over again to our existing properties have been telling us for some time that they would love to be able to replicate the Gaylord experience in a market in the Western region of the United States.We believe that this is the perfect location for meeting that demand."
The project is expected to cost approximately $800 million and will be funded by Gaylord, potential joint venture partners and the tax incentives that are being provided as a result of theagreement between the company and the city of Aurora.
Last night, the Aurora City Council approved an agreement with Gaylord that includes a financial package. Under this agreement, the city pledges to collect virtually all of the new taxes generated by the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center and reinvest them into the project. Components of the financial plan will require agreement by additional local jurisdictions and selection by the State of Colorado as a recipient of funds from the recently enacted Regional Tourism Act. Over the next 12 months Gaylord will continue to work with city, county and state officials to secure the necessary approvals required for the incentive plan and for construction to commence.
Gaylord has selected Colorado-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. as the general contractor for the project. Gaylord hopes to break ground on construction in mid-to-late 2012.
"When you see the quality and service at a Gaylord property you understand why they get so much repeat business. This project will bring thousands of new visitors to Colorado," said EdTauer, Mayor of Aurora, Colo. "The community benefits are awesome. Our top priority is jobs,and this brings over 1,800 new jobs with a great employer."
The property is expected to initially feature:*1,500 luxurious guest rooms*400,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space*A dramatic atrium setting offering panoramic views of the full Rocky Mountain vista, from Longs Peak down to Pikes Peak*Numerous hotel amenities that Gaylord's customers have come to expect.
"We are in the very early stages of planning and will make certain that any project we pursue is done so under the appropriate economic conditions and provides the appropriate returns for our shareholders," said Reed. "We are pleased to work with the city of Aurora, Adams County and the state of Colorado on the next steps of this project and look forward to becoming a valuable part of the Aurora community."
About Gaylord Entertainment
Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn., owns and operates Gaylord Hotels (www.gaylordhotels.com), its network of upscale, meetings-focused resorts and the Grand Ole Opry (www.opry.com), the weekly showcase of country music's finest performers for 85 consecutive years. The company's entertainment brands and properties include the Radisson Hotel Opryland, Ryman Auditorium,General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM-AM. For more information about the company, visit www.GaylordEntertainment.com.
This press release contains statements as to the Company's beliefs and expectations of the outcome of future events that are forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. These include risks and uncertainties associated with obtaining financing, governmental and third party approvals related to new developments, economic conditions affecting the hospitality businessgenerally, rising labor and benefits costs, the timing of any new development projects, increased costs and other risks associated with building and developing new hotel facilities, the geographic concentration of our hotel properties, business levels at the Company's hotels, our ability to successfully operate our hotels and our ability to refinance our indebtedness as it matures. Other factors that could cause operating and financial results to differ are described in the filings made from time to time by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission and include the risk factors described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010. The Company does not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements made by it to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date hereof or the occurrence of unanticipated events.
SOURCE: Gaylord Entertainment Co.
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "National Western Stock Show subject of a range war between Denver and Aurora."
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.