DALLAS The Colorado attorney general’s office has removed a legal obstacle to financing a Gaylord Hotel and conference center near Denver International Airport.
In a written reply to hoteliers opposing state incentives for the project, Colorado’s first assistant attorney general Leeann Morrill denied that the incentives were improperly awarded. Morrill also wrote that the decision is not subject to review in the courts.
“The petitioners did not avail themselves of either mechanism for judicial review, and did not file a petition for reconsideration of the May 18, 2012 approval with the Commission before the expiration of either statute of limitations,” Morrill wrote in her Aug. 15 letter.
The opposing hoteliers petitioned the Colorado Economic Development Commission on July 25 to reverse its 2012 vote to award $81.4 million of Regional Tourism Act tax-increment financing.
Wendy Mitchell, president and CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council, told the EDC in July that project developer Rida Development Corp. was having problems financing the hotel with the legal question unresolved.
Qualification for the tax incentives requires sponsorship by a local government. The city of Aurora, the major promoter of the Gaylord project, sought the incentives on behalf of the developer.
The Aurora City Council voted June 20 to approve a $300-million incentive and rebate package that includes tax increment financing, a cap on property taxes and the request for $5.6 million a year from the state’s Regional Tourism Act. Gaylord would also receive rebates of city room, property and sales taxes for the next 25 years.
Rida agreed to develop the project after the original developer backed out.
Construction is expected to start by early 2015 with an opening targeted for 2017.
Current plans call for Marriott International, Inc., which acquired the Gaylord brand in 2012, to manage the 1,500-room hotel that is expected to occupy largely undeveloped land south of DIA. The Colorado Gaylord would rank as one of the largest convention center hotels outside of Las Vegas.