Triple Crown Casinos plans to begin construction next spring on what will be Cripple Creek’s second-largest hotel to help attract more tourists to the historic mining town and its gambling halls.

The project — estimated to cost up to $40 million — will include an upscale rooftop restaurant, more than 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, hot tubs, coffee shop, lounge and other amenities, said Larry Hill, CEO of the parent company for the Brass Ass, McGills and Midnight Rose casinos.

The five-story hotel will be attached to both the Brass Ass and Triple Crown’s parking garage and is scheduled to open in the second half of 2020.

“With a robust economy in Colorado Springs and Colorado’s tourism options growing, we recognize that we need to differentiate the Cripple Creek experience to remain competitive,” Hill said in a news release. “We feel the additional guest rooms will help Cripple Creek take the next step in becoming more of an overnight destination for regional and tourist markets.”

The hotel, to be built on the north side of Myers Avenue and featuring a grand entry and bridge over Third Avenue, will add to the 59 hotel rooms already operated by McGills and Midnight Rose. Hill said the hotel would be comparable in quality to a 3½- or four-star hotel and likely would not carry a national brand.

The hotel would make Triple Crown Cripple Creek’s largest hotel operator with more than 200 rooms, ahead of the 158-room Double Eagle Hotel and Casino, which will remain the city’s largest hotel. The hotel plans still must be approved by the city of Cripple Creek, but Hill said the project conforms with the city’s historic preservation rules and he doesn’t “expect any problems” gaining those approvals based on recent meetings with city officials.

Triple Crown unsuccessfully challenged city approval of plans by competitor Full House Resorts Inc., which owns the Bronco Billy’s casino and related properties, for a 150-room hotel, spa, parking garage, convention and entertainment space and an upscale restaurant. Construction is slated to begin on the project — estimated to cost up to $70 million — early next year with an opening scheduled in late 2020 or early 2021.

Hotel projects also are planned by two other major Cripple Creek casino players: Colorado Springs-based Century Casinos Inc. and American Gaming Group LLC, which owns the Wildwood Casino.

OZ Architecture will design the hotel, and a general contractor is expected to be chosen early next year, Hill said. Triple Crown expects to finance the project with loans, he said.

Triple Crown also announced it is acquiring the Gold Fever Inn, a 53-room hotel at 123 May Ave., about eight blocks southwest of its casinos, for employee housing. The hotel was built in 1998 and was acquired for $565,000 in 2016 by a limited liability company managed by Colorado Springs accountant Dennis Brenner.

“We need affordable work force housing,” Hill said. “For this project to move forward, we need employees and this is the toughest labor market I have ever experienced. To staff this hotel, we believe we need affordable housing for our workers.”

Midnight Rose opened in 1992, the Brass Ass opened in 1995 and McGills opened in 1997. Triple Crown is owned by Wendy’s franchise giant Richard Holland of Colorado Springs and employs 250-350 workers, depending on seasonal fluctuations.

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