Denver ready to spend $274 million in bonds for upgrades to National Western Center and Colorado Convention Center upgrades

About $274 million in bonds will pay for long-planned upgrades and expansions to the home of the National Western Stock Show, as well as the Colorado Convention Center.

The Denver City Council agreed Monday evening to issue those bonds, which voters approved in a 2015 measure. The council unanimously approved the package as part of its consent agenda, signaling a lack of controversy about the bond issue.

About $175.8 millionfrom the bonds approved Monday will go toward early-phase upgrades for the National Western Center including a new Stockyard Events Center, new stockyards, and new roads and infrastructure needed for additional work expected in the coming years.

About $528 million worth of changes to the complex down the road include a new 10,000-seat arena and an exposition hall. But those are are on hold because the city’s end of a public-private partnership would be too expensive, Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hanlon told The Denver Post in February.

The remaining $98 million of the newly approved bonds will go toward an 80,000-square-foot ballroom and 50,000-square-foot outdoor terrace at the Colorado Convention Center.

City officials say the early-phase work would bring about $10 billion to the local economy and create nearly 7,200 jobs over the next few years. They expect this type of stimulus to help Denver rebound from the pandemic like similar projects helped the city recover from the Great Recession.

Gov. Jared Polis and the state’s top Democratic and Republican lawmakers proposed a spending package earlier this month that could include millions for the National Western Stock Show, which was canceled this year but leaders promised last month it would return in January 2022.

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