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DENVER-Construction has started on the $35-million first phase of a $50-million art and natural history museum to educate about nature and wildlife in the Meridian International Business Center, the largest business park in the metro area. The museum, an unusual amenity in a business park, is founded by Dave Liniger.

Along with his wife, Gail, Liniger founded RE/MAX International in Denver about three decades ago.

”I came to Colorado 30 years ago, and fell in love with the mountains, the rivers and streams and the wildlife,” Liniger says at a press conference at Gov. Bill Owens’ mansion, as he petted a seven-week Bengal tiger.

The museum is called the Wildlife Experience and will include a 101,999-sf facility. The project will include a large screen Iwerks movie theater, a restaurant, gift shop and a room that will seat 1,000 people for private events.

Liniger hired the Denver Tech Center, the owner of Meridian, to develop Wildlife Experience.

”We’ve been working with Dave Liniger for several months now,” Peter Culshaw, president of the Denver Tech Center, tells GlobeSt.com. ”It’s been quite fun.”

RE/MAX International will provide the bulk of the financing, although funding for the non-profit operation also will be sought from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. Liniger expects the Wildlife Experience to draw at least 300,000 visitors annually.

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