Two hotels planned near the Colorado Springs Airport passenger terminal will be larger than initially envisioned and share lobby and meeting space, according to new plans presented Monday to the Colorado Springs City Council.
The two hotels will include a 130-room Courtyard by Marriott that is expected to open in late 2021 and a similar-sized Residence Inn or equivalent Marriott brand that would open later, Greg Phillips, the city’s aviation director, told council members. The airport hopes to sell a 6-acre site in its Peak Innovation Park just south of Milton E. Proby Parkway by early April to a limited liability company set up by Atlanta-based Hotel Equities for $1.7 million, he said.
The council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the transaction, with most members indicating support at Monday’s meeting, even though the sale price is about $280,000 less than the appraised value. Phillips said the deal had already been renegotiated to a higher price and needs to be completed soon to take maximum advantage of federal tax benefits available because the site is in a federal Opportunity Zone. That program allows investors in such projects to delay paying federal income tax on investment profits until 2026.
“These hotels will provide hospitality services not just for Colorado Springs residents and visitors, but also for airport users from locations as far as northern New Mexico and western Kansas spend the night before taking early morning flights in much the same way the hotels on Tower Road near Denver International Airport do,” Phillips said. “This will also help continue the momentum of Peak Innovation Park and help repay the cost of extending utility service.”
Bob Cope, the city’s economic development officer, estimated that the hotels would generate an annual economic benefit of nearly $11 million and produce more than $700,000 a year in tax revenue for the city and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, based on current tax rates. That is based on contractors for the Courtyard by Marriott project employing 535 people and the hotel employing 130 people.
The Courtyard by Marriott also would include a restaurant and 7,500 square feet of meeting space, among the most of any hotel near the airport and possibly including a secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, Phillips said. The information facility is a room secured from bugs where classified meetings for the military or its contractors may be held.
The second hotel, which would share lobby, restaurant and meeting space with the first hotel, would be started after the Courtyard by Marriott hotel is completed and open by 2023. A third, larger hotel with extensive meeting space and other amenities is envisioned north of Milton E. Proby Parkway.
The 900-acre development area at the airport also houses offices for defense contractor Northrop Grumman and federal research nonprofit Aerospace Corp., an Army air terminal and a delivery station for online retail giant Amazon. The airport uses income from the park to offset its expenses and keep costs low for airlines and passengers.
Hotel Equities also is a partner in a 259-room hotel under construction in downtown Colorado Springs that is set to open under Marriott’s Element and SpringHill Suites brands in 2021. The company operates a Fairfield Inn & Suites near the Air Force Academy and more than 140 other hotels in 24 states and three Canadian provinces.