Colorado State EDC Approves Incentives for Gaylord and Pueblo Projects

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor The Colorado State Economic Development Commission has awarded the Gaylord Aurora and Pueblo projects a sales tax incentive pursuant to the state’s Regional Tourism Act of 2009. The EDC went through a nearly year-long process of selecting, out of six applicants, the winners of the state RTA funding. The commission [...]

The Colorado State Economic Development Commission has awarded the Gaylord Aurora and Pueblo projects a sales tax incentive pursuant to the state’s Regional Tourism Act of 2009. The EDC went through a nearly year-long process of selecting, out of six applicants, the winners of the state RTA funding. The commission can approve up to two projects a year with combined incentives of up to $50 million annually.

The Gaylord Entertainment Co. proposed a 1,500-room hotel/conference center in Aurora and applied for a 95 percent sales tax rebate—equivalent to $153.4 million. The EDC, however, voted to award an annual rebate of 65.8 percent of the state’s 2.9 percent sales tax generated by the project for the first 30 years of its operation—equivalent to $81.4 million.

Aurora and Gaylord now have to figure out how to make up for the $72 million difference between the requested incentive package and what the EDC has awarded. Aurora has agreed to offer up to $300 million in incentives for the project but has no more money to make up the difference, according to Wendy Mitchell, president of Aurora Economic Development Council, as quoted by The Denver Post.

The Pueblo project was awarded $14.8 million over 30 years out the $59.8 million in incentives it requested. The Pueblo plan calls for the expansion of the city’s riverwalk entertainment district and convention center, as well as for the creation of the Pro Bull Riders University.

Over the next 120 days, officials for both applicants and the EDC will refine the parameters of the projects. Among the conditions suggested by Ken Lund, Colorado economic-development chief, was for the 1.9 million-square-foot Gaylord project to begin construction next year and have an opening date in 2016.

Rendering Courtesy of: www.gaylordhotels.com

For more market data on Denver, please click here.