- Study makes recommendations for the National Western Complex.
- Colorado Convention also part of study.
- Cost and how to pay for it not addressed.
New facilities at the National Western Complex could bring 88 new events, 919,500 more visitors and bring millions in additional tax dollars to Denver’s coffers each year, according to a new study.
The feasibility study, released to Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and other city leaders on Tuesday, said National Western Stock Show and non-stock show spending could reach almost $180 million annually if a major renovation is implemented for the sprawling and dilapidated center in North Denver.
The total tax impact is projected to be $11.4 million annually. Incremental new taxes are project to be $5.1 million of the annual total, with $4.3 million coming from out of town visitors.
The feasibility study recommendations outline the potential of the National Western Complex, Denver Coliseum and the Colorado Convention Center. The goal is to keep Denver a top event and convention destination on the national and international stage. The study said a revamped center could even help Denver land the Winter Olympics.
However, the estimated cost and funding for the improvement were not part of the study, which also included the Colorado Convention Center.
The study said the convention center “cannot rest on its current success” and must consider recommendations to compete for large and small events.
Part of Denver’s strategy is to think “holistically” so the convention center and the Western Center do not compete with each other, but rather complement each other.
“Denver needs to think holistically about its current facilities to continue growing our convention and tourism business,” Hancock said.
“The recommendations made by the study could help strengthen Denver’s position as a global city as well as a desired convention destination that would generate local and regional job growth for years to come,” Hancock said.
The feasibility study, conducted by Strategic Advisory Group, Langer Equestrian Group and Fentress Architects, looked at the national convention market and asked how Denver could leverage or improve its facilities to attract more tourism.
“The study encourages us to creatively diversify our facilities in order to remain competitive,” said Kent Rice, executive director of Denver Arts & Venues.
“Without changes, the study suggests we could run the risk of losing business to other cities that are staying relevant and modifying and expanding their convention and event facilities,” Rice said.
The recommendations include a variety of investments to the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum in order to sustain and continue growing the National Western Stock Show, the largest agriculture convention in the country.
The study said the Western Stock Show is recognized as the “Super Bowl” of stock show.
At the same time, “There is a high level of dissatisfaction amongst users due to the age and efficiencies of the facilities,” according to the study.
“The majority of the facilities are technically obsolete and when combined with the pro site logistics, restrict the level of utilization for events both Stock Show and non-Stock Show related,” the report notes.
Preliminary recommendations include:
- A new arena to replace the 8,140-seat Denver Coliseum built in 1952. The new arena would include 10,00 seat-multi-use area with as many as 40 suites for rodeo, hockey and other year-round events;
- Replace the existing Stadium Arena with a multipurpose, 5,00-set concrete Livestock Stadium Arena;
- Existing stock yards would be replaced with modern and flexible yard pens;
- Replace the existing 4,777 fixed-seat Event Centre with a 4,500-set (2,500-fixed seats) multipurpose Equestrian Events Center;
- Develop a new multipurpose Exposition Hall with 350,000 square feet, That could better position Denver to host the Winter Olympics;
- Explore extending he National Western Stock Show by seven days, which would increase attendance by 170,000 from 750,000 people to 920,000;
- Create a new consolidated governance/operating framework to leverage the use of the Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and national Western Complex facilities.
“Our goal is to develop a strong year-round program for the National Western Complex that brings together education, economic development, tourism and entertainment in one location,” said Paul Andrews, resident & CEO of the National Western Stock Show.
“Our process will include a variety of key partners, and the community, that will help us create a sustainable and profitable plan for the National Western Stock Show,” Andrews added.
The study also shows the Colorado Convention Center scoring high levels of satisfaction from overall meeting and convention experiences.
The report, however, provides recommendations to continue making this facility a top-rated destination for conventions in the country.
- Add 35,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet of ballroom space and add 25,00 to 35,00 square feet of meeting space;
- Create a “unique meeting experience and social networking”for existing and new spaces;
- Increase the band width for technology upgrades, offer online video streaming and crowd sourcing;
- And encourage any future hotel developments to be as close to the Colorado Convention Center as possible.
The convention center recommendations could mean 36,000 new attendees for any incremental impact of $47.2 million in annual, direct delegate spending, generating an additional $3.4 million annually in local sales and hotel taxes.
“The Colorado Convention Center has been an economic engine for Denver, bringing more than $500 million in spending a year to Denver, as well as a myriad of new hotels and businesses to the city,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver, the Convention & Visitor Bureau.
“This study gives us a blueprint of what we need to do going forward to keep the convention center relevant to meeting planners and successful in bringing economic development, jobs and tax revenue to the city,” Scharf added.
The National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum, is one of six redevelopment projects in the Mayor’s North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative in Globeville, Elyria and Swansea.
The redevelopment projects in this corner of the city provide a unique and historic opportunity to rebuild a connected community and energize a gateway to downtown Denver.hey are part of the Hancock’s broader vision for creating a Corridor of Opportunity, linking Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport,
“The National Western Stock Show is part of Denver’s culture and part of the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Judy Montero.
“I am excited that the city is committed to creating a master plan with the help of residents,” Montero said.
The next steps will include an evaluation of all recommendations that support the vision of making Denver a top-rated destination for conventions and tourism.
The master plan is being led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and will include key partners Colorado State University, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and History Colorado.
An aggressive timeline will ensure the master plan is complete by the end of the year.
The planning process will engage a 27-member Citizens Advisory Council, comprised of residents, businesses, property owners and nonprofit representatives from Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods.
In November 2012, the National Western Stock Show announced its intention to remain at its current location in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood and to explore forging stronger partnerships and greater coordination with Denver Art & Venues Denver and Visit Denver.
At that time, the feasibility study was the next step for the City and County of Denver, Visit Denver and the National Western Stock Show to take in order to explore options for overcoming challenges and strengthening the National Western Stock Show and Complex’s program and facilities.
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