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DENVER-Local hotels and the city already have lost $250 million in business because of delays in the $268-million Colorado Convention Center. That’s the latest estimate of Eugene Dilbeck, president of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitor Bureau.

And, it likely will get worse, before it gets better, Dilbeck warns.

He says that group business could drop another 30% if the doubling of the convention center, which voters approved in November 1999, doesn’t move forward.

The city doesn’t want to go forward with the expansion, which will double the size of the convention center, unless it has a new hotel to handle increased business. But the 1,100-room Hyatt Regency Hotel has been stymied because of a dispute whether the hotel should be unionized. A union wants voters to decide whether the city should subsidize the hotel, and the city has taken the union to court, saying it can’t call for a vote on the issue.

The owners can’t get financing for their hotel until the union matter is resolved. Because of that, the city hasn’t set a groundbreaking date or a completion date for the convention center.

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