Earlier this month, the Denver Post reported that the new 1,100-room Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center has been completed. Now this isn’t really anything new; hotels are built all the time.
What is new is that the “37-story hotel (was) built by the city after private developers failed to do so,” according to the Post article. Would Colorado Springs ever get so daring as to build a hotel? Highly doubtful. Remember the fuss raised by The Antlers and The Broadmoor during the debate about a downtown convention center and hotel?
There are some plans floating around to build another hotel in downtown Colorado Springs, but the city surely won’t be paying for it.
Why not? A new hotel downtown would help the local business community. If we truly are a destination city, why wouldn’t everyone in the hospitality business want more attractions to bring in more people?
According to the Post story, “$285 million hotel is being greeted with open arms by Denver’s hoteliers, who widely agree that the hotel and the $310 million expansion of the convention center, which opened last December, were needed to boost the city’s profile among convention planners.”
Guess the folks in Denver don’t suffer from self-minded protectionism.
What can we learn from big brother up north? Obviously a lot.
Should the city of Colorado Springs build a hotel? As long as it includes a convention center – yes.
How should it be funded? How about an economic development tax?
Oh, did I say tax? Not enough politicians with long-term vision to make that happen.
But an economic development tax could be used to build a hotel that includes meeting space.
Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., spoke to City Council on Nov. 15. He outlined why economic development is a community requirement best handled by public-private partnerships.
He cited a national report by McClure Consulting in 2004 that included 534 economic development organizations. The report stated the average community support for economic development efforts was $9.88 per person, which would equal more than $5 million for Colorado Springs. The current amount allotted in Colorado Springs is $245,000 for the EDC, plus three city staff.
Pueblo, he pointed out, which has a population of 103,000, gets $7.3 million in public funding for economic development efforts. That equates to $70.87 per person, and is 70 times more than the $1 per person in Colorado Springs.
Obviously, there is a hug gap between the amount of money that Pueblo and Colorado Springs provide for economic development.
I don’t get it. Why is it that we can only provide one measly dollar per person, and Pueblo can dole out more than $70? It’s no wonder Pueblo was able to rope the bull riders into leaving the Springs.
I would have no problem donating $70 a year for economic development.
I think we should consider some type of tax to support the EDC. And, since the EDC and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce have similar tasks, maybe some of the revenue could be sent to the chamber for specific initiatives.
Have a happy New Year.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at lon.matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.