Colo. eco-devo incentive projects OK’d, including water park, stock show digs

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DENVER | The Colorado Economic Development Commission has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in incentive programs, including $86 million to help build four tourist attractions in northern Colorado that include an indoor whitewater park, a horror film center, a lake resort and a water park-themed hotel.

Denver got $121 million for the National Western Center, but said it’s not enough and it needs to find more funds for the project. The project is part of a 10-year plan to turn an aging Denver arena into a global agriculture destination.

RTAApproval-GDT-12111_HarrThe four projects in northern Colorado, put together by an organization called Go NoCo, hit a snag when the coalition objected to some restrictions, but the organization said it believes the issues can be worked out and the projects can go forward.

“We accept those guardrails with the understanding that we can adjust some of those details that we, frankly, don’t think work,” said Jep Seman, a Denver-based attorney representing Go NoCo.

Most of the Go NoCo funding is expected to come from private and nonprofit debt, equity and donations, along with state and local subsidies, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported (http://tinyurl.com/gl4eunp).

State economic development director Fiona Arnold and her staff said they wanted to make sure there was no duplication.

“That kind of specificity is untenable,” said Go NoCo chairman Patrick Brady.

For instance, the proposed Peligrande Resort in Windsor would have to meet minimum footage requirements on items such as the ballroom, the Denver Post reported (http://tinyurl.com/jv38ke6).

John Cullen, owner of the Stanley Hotel, which is developing a horror film center, objected to a requirement the center have enough room to store one of the nation’s largest film collections.

He said there is no way the center could ever compete with other major digital storage providers.

The commission also approved $300,000 in state strategic funds to German airline Lufthansa for marketing costs to relaunch of a nonstop flight from Denver to Munich.