The original plan for
the Colorado Convention Center developed in 1987 called for it to
eventually offer 600,000 square feet of exhibit space, creating
a massive 14-acre exhibition hall. Phase I (the first building)
opened in June 1990, providing 292,000 square feet of exhibit space
with plans to build Phase II when market conditions justified expansion.
At the time that it opened, the Colorado Convention Center was the
tenth largest facility in the nation.
By 1996, the convention
center had dropped to 34th largest in the nation. In 1998, Denver
Mayor Wellington Webb appointed a 26-person Convention Center Expansion
Task Force to study the issue. The Task Force, made up of businessmen,
community leaders and Denver City Council members, studied the issue
for 14 months, hiring Dain Rauscher and CSL International to conduct
On February 25, 1999, they released their report, which recommended
doubling the convention center, adding a 1,000-car parking garage,
a 5,000 fixed-seat auditorium and 80,000 square feet of additional
meeting space, with an adjacent 1,100-room hotel.
A more definite estimated
cost for the project of $268 million was established in mid-August.
Finally, on August 30, 1999, the Denver City Council voted 11-2
to put the measure on the November 2, 1999 ballot. In the election,
Denver voters passed the initiative with 55% of the vote.
Fentress Bradburn was
hired to design the expansion. On April 29, 2002, Denver broke the
Guinness World Record for the largest groundbreaking in history
with 1,200 people participating in the groundbreaking of the Colorado
Convention Center expansion. The $300 million expansion will open
on December 6, 2004.
In 2003, Mayor Webb agreed that the City would finance an 1,100-room
Hyatt Hotel to be built in the block across the street from the
expansion. The hotel will open in December 2005.
Denver will offer the 15th largest meeting facility in the nation,
the sixth largest west of the Mississippi River.