That massive convention center by DIA is moving right along

Here’s a look inside the skeleton of the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, one of the Denver area’s largest construction projects.

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The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 21, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

You’ve seen it from afar — and many of you have tweeted at us or asked us about that titan of a construction site rising from beyond Peña Boulevard. The tower cranes above the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center have disappeared and the project is inching ever closer to completion.

Gaylord Rockies, which is owned by Marriott International, has already sent ripples through the surrounding communities. This is mostly by way of the army of workers needed to build the sprawling facility, which encompasses about 2 million square feet. After it’s completed, Denver and Aurora officials hope the project will help spur dense development and new business around it.

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

Inside the future "grand lodge" that will feature restaurants and shops. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Gaylord Rockies by the numbers:

1,500 estimated jobs on site at peak. According to Mortenson, the construction company, 90 percent of those employed are from Colorado.

76,000 cubic yards of concrete poured in the structures.

800 feet of lazy river.

1501 guest rooms.

8 restaurants.

2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and ice slides are planned to grace annual holiday celebrations at the Gaylord starting in 2019.

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The area around DIA is blowing up.

We’re a bit closer to Denver and Aurora leaders’ vision of an “aerotropolis,”an  international commerce hub anchored by the airport. While facets of this plan like renovating  I-70 have been controversial, representatives of the neighborhoods closer to DIA are glad to see the rapid growth.

Nicole Johnston, who represents Aurora’s Ward II, said she’s looking forward to how the Gaylord project will benefit locals.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I think its going to really transform that area.”

While the convention space and hotel are geared toward out-of-towners, Johnston said Gaylord Rockies will drive employment and lure other kinds of businesses. With all of that, plus rising development costs associated with Denver’s new green roof initiative, she said Aurora will look all the more attractive to prospective homeowners.

People who might have considered moving to Denver, Johnston said, “May just want to go a few miles down the road to Aurora.”

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

For Denver City Council representative Stacie Gilmore, who presides over Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, growth just over the border is just fine.

“What’s good for Aurora is good for Denver,” she said. It’s an “exciting opportunity for the workforce,” provides new entertainment options and, most important for Gilmore, it might help attract a full-service grocery store to an area that’s often described as a food desert.

Gaylord Rockies is projected to open by the end of the year.

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, March 21, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Construction of a the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center near DIA. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  construction; development; denver; denverite; colorado; winter; kevinjbeaty;

Construction of the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center near DIA, December 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Homes in Green Valley Ranch framed by construction of the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Homes in Green Valley Ranch framed by construction of the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, June 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

Workers do their thing inside a future convention hall, March 21, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

A sprawling space that will soon be a convention hall. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

Unfurnished hallways inside the future hotel. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

The "grand lodge" is designed to feel like an outdoor space and includes an old caboose. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

The future "grand lodge." (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

Groundwork for a lazy river. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

Near-completed hotel space and water slide. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, under construction, March 22, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; development; kevinjbeaty; construction;

Views from inside future convention space. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

CorrectionThe large space called the “grand lodge” was originally (and incorrectly) written here as the “great hall.”