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DENVER-Colorado carpenters reached an agreement that will allow the 1,100 room Colorado Convention Center hotel to go ahead as planned.Earlier, the Mountain West Regional Council of Carpenters had collected signatures to place the planned Hyatt hotel at 14th and Curtis streets on the November ballot.

The threat of the vote has delayed the selling of about $350 million in tax-exempt bonds and the construction of the hotel. But officials still think both events can now take place by the end of June.

“This understanding with the developer (Austin-based Faulkner USA) gives the Convention Center Hotel the green light,” says Jim Gleason, president of the carpenters’ council.

“This is great for working families, great for Denver and great for Colorado,” added Gleason, as he fed petitions that could have stalled the downtown project into a shredder. The petitions, if filed by Thursday’s deadline, would have forced the project to a vote in the November election.

The petitions contained 4,367 signatures, far more than the 2,458 necessary to put the issue on the ballot. The agreement allows financing for the $350 million project to go forward right away and construction to start on schedule.

Gleason said the carpenters reached an “arms-length understanding” with the principals involved in the project that guarantees responsible contractors that supply health insurance, a safe workplace and an apprentice training program a fair shot at competing for subcontracts.

“This means subcontractors who treat their workers fairly have a better chance of winning a bid,” says Gleason. “We hope this opens the door to a new relationship between workers and the City of Denver,” says Gleason. “We want to be at the table with Mayor-elect (John) Hickenlooper, the new Denver City Council and the business community to build a better Denver. Our message is that Colorado working families are part of the solution, not part of the problem in developing our city.”

The Hyatt-Regency hotel will be built at 14th and California Streets, across the street from the $268 million Colorado Convention Center expansion. The hotel will cost about $260 million, with the rest of the bond financing going for insurance and reserves.The hotel is considered a key to the success of the convention center and Denver’s convention business. Financing will come from a non-profit financing authority.

The Mountain West Regional Council of Carpenters represents more than 6,000 carpenters in the Rocky Mountain West, about 3,000 of those in Colorado. Of those, about 1,500 are in Denver.

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