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