by Sarah J.F. Braley | December 21, 2015

Marriott International, in an owner and development partnership led by RIDA Development Corp. and Ares Management L.P., has closed on a $500 million construction loan to build the 1,500-room Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado. Simultaneously, a $530 million construction contract was entered into with Mortenson Construction and WELBRO Building Corp. for the project. More than 10,000 construction workers now will be hired to start building up the property, which will open in late 2018.

Marriott will manage the hotel and convention center, which is expected to bring more than 2 million visitors to Aurora and the state during the first several years after opening.

"I am extremely pleased that the financing for the project has closed and major vertical construction is underway.  At a time of uncertainty in the economy, it is especially fulfilling to know that the partnership should create over 10,000 jobs for the great State of Colorado over the next three critical years," said Ira Mitzner, president of RIDA Development Corp. "The partnership would like to recognize the efforts of the city of Aurora, led by Mayor Steve Hogan, and the state of Colorado, for their tireless partnership in bringing the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center to fruition."

The property, which will be a 10-minute drive from Denver International Airport, will feature more than 485,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space, including a 175,000-square-foot exhibit hall; three ballrooms ranging from 8,000 to 35,000 square feet; 80 breakout rooms; 20,000 square feet of outdoor covered space, and three outdoor event lawns from 5,000 to 22,000 square feet.