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DENVER-The proposed $125 million Westin Hotel at the Denver International Airport remains in limbo under the Hickenlooper administration.Mayor John Hickenlooper is taking a page from former Mayor Wellington Webb and not immediately moving forward on the long-sought, city-owned hotel because of the slow economy and decline in air traffic.

Hotel consultant and analyst Robert Benton says that to do nothing at this juncture is a wise move. “I think it’s a good idea,” Benton, principal of Robert Benton & Associates, tells GlobeSt.com. “There has been a lot of deterioration of room rates. In order to let the market recover, for a couple of years we should not be adding to the supply and allow other properties around it to improve their performance. Ultimately, a Westin at the airport will be able to perform better when the other hotels surrounding it are doing better.”

In addition to the economy, DIA itself needs to recover, he tells GlobeSt.com. “The airport needs to worry about its credit rating,” Benton says. “There are a lot of capital improvements that need to be done. There’s a lot of uncertainty at DIA. Is United Airlines (the largest airline at DIA) committed to Denver or not? United and Frontier want a lot of capital improvements. Those are the main tenants at the airport. You don’t want a hotel competing with them at this point, although ultimately a hotel will help the airport.”

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