Denver Leases Airport Land for Hotels, Shops

The Denver City Council approved a 40-year lease Monday that allows up to two midsize hotels to be built near Denver International Airport.

The estimated $50 million project, dubbed The Landings at DIA, also includes 60,000 square feet of retail space and up to eight pads for stand-alone businesses.

At build-out, the 17-acre development off Pena Boulevard at Gun Club Road is expected to generate about $2 million in annual sales tax revenue for the city.

Council approval is required because the development is on airport land owned by the city.

Marcus Phillips, acquisition officer at Redwood Real Estate Partners, the lead developer, said it's still being decided whether to build one or two hotels on the site. The agreement allows one hotel with 200 rooms or two hotels with 250 rooms combined, he said.

"We have several hotel developer operators at the table, and we're currently evaluating which group to choose to go forward," Phillips said.

Council President Michael Hancock, whose district includes the airport, said the development shows that "DIA is growing up."

"We've focused so much on the inside of the airport, but if you look at today's 21st century airports, there is tremendous development around them as far as their exterior land," he said. "This is critically important to the continued maturation of DIA."

Hancock said the project, which would allow such retail uses as a drug store and salon, will offer convenience to travelers and people parked near the airport's 45-minute waiting area.

"It also becomes convenient for people who are outward bound," he said.

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