DENVER-Colorado’s Ocean Journey, a non-profit aquarium, is under water financially. COJ, which in 1997 was funded through $35 million in sponsorships from a Who’s Who of Denver’s business people and corporations, $7-million loan insured from HUD through the city, and $57.4 million in junk bond financing, shocked the business community when officials announced it will default on the bonds.

They would amount to $120 million over the next 25 years.

COJ hopes to refinance the bonds which carry an interest rate of 8.3%, in order to cut its $400,000 monthly bond payments.

COJ also plans to stop making payments on the city loan, which has dropped to $6.1 million from $7 million.

The aquarium is considering giving the city some valuable land it owns adjacent to the aquarium in the Central Platte Valley in lieu of paying off the loan. The city is considering the proposal. COJ also is considering selling the land to a developer, which would raise needed cash. A development next to COJ would make it more of a destination attraction for visitors.

The aquarium also is asking for tax support from the city’s Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. The aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in Denver, drawing about 1 million visitors a year. But the attendance has not been enough to cover its hefty interest payments.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


GlobeSt. INDUSTRIAL 2022Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable industrial real estate executives

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2022 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.