The planned 1,500-room Gaylord Rockies hotel and conference center in Aurora will include an expansive indoor/outdoor water park. The estimated $25-million park will make the Gaylord Rockies one of the first Four Diamond Hotels with a year-round water park in the region. 

Rendering by HKS Inc., courtesy of RIDA
The 85-acre Gaylord Rockies resort is expected to attract more than 450,000 new visitors to the state each year, say project developers.
Rendering by HKS Inc., courtesy of RIDA
The Gaylord water park will include a family play zone, two water slides, a lazy river and a Colorado hot springs experience.

The plan calls for multiple pools and water slides, including a family play zone, two water slides, a lazy river and a Colorado ‘hot springs’ experience. RIDA Development Corp., the Gaylord developer, made the announcement on Feb. 6 at a press conference at the Hyatt House Denver Airport.

“The new amenities will offer another reason for guests and their families to extend their stay beyond official conference dates,” said Ira Mitzner, president of RIDA Development Corp. “This will give the Gaylord Rockies and Colorado another amenity to attract the more than 300 groups that rotate through Gaylord properties on an annual basis.”

Also present at the announcement were the construction and design teams of the Gaylord Rockies project, including general contractor Mortenson Construction and architect HKS Inc., both with offices in Denver.

“This project will create more than 10,000 construction jobs and 1,550 permanent, direct jobs,” said Maja Rosenquist, vice president and general manager of Mortenson Construction.

“Our Denver office will be designing the architectural elements of the new Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Conference Center,” said Nunzio DeSantis, executive vice president and director, HKS Inc. “This will be a monumental project of 1.9 million sq ft on 85 acres that will attract more than 450,000 net new visitors to the state each year.”

The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved a state sales tax incentive expected to range from $2.7 to $3.5 million annually, depending on how much net new state sales taxes are generated by the new Gaylord Rockies.

The incentives are a percentage of future taxes solely generated by the project. No money is paid, and the incentives decrease or increase depending on the project’s success in bringing new revenue into the state. The city of Aurora and Adams County tax incentives are expected to range from $8.4 million to $9.9 million annually, depending on how much new local taxes are created by the project. The tab for the project is estimated to be at least $800 million, but it is not fully funded yet.

“This is a huge win for the state of Colorado,” said Dan Fay, president of Commonwealth Hotels, the management company of the Hyatt House Denver Airport. “The Gaylord Rockies will bring in more than $8.2 billion in economic benefits to Colorado over the next 30 years.  The Hyatt House Denver Airport, as well as additional hotels we manage in Denver and the region, will stand to receive a share of these new dollars to Colorado by overfill and tourism spending.”

Many area firms interested in working on the Gaylord project also attended the press conference.
“My firm is interested and qualified in competing for a contract on this project,” said John Moore, principal/director of civil engineering at Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers, Lakewood. “This is a great opportunity for our industry and small businesses in Colorado.”