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DENVER-It was to be the traditional topping out ceremony, but M.A. Mortenson is building the $40 million, 196-room JW Marriott hotel in Cherry Creek so fast, that they’d already placed the top piece of steel on the 11-story building when officials commemorated its official unveiling. In June 2004, the first JW Marriott in Denver will open.

Sunstone Hotel Investors LLC with M.A. Mortenson Development of Minneapolis is developing it, which is the “turnkey” developer. Currently, there are only 30 JW Marriotts in the world.

“Bringing the JW Marriott brand to Cherry Creek is exciting for Denver,” Mayor John Hickenlooper said, as he stood on the fifth floor parking lot on the former Sears, Roebuck & Co., and workers continued to work on the new hotel. “It reinforces the message that Cherry Creek is a world-class neighborhood and Denver is a world-class city,” Hickenlooper went on to say.

Robert Alter, CEO of Sunstone Hotels, says he isn’t worried about the soft hotel market in Denver. “We aren’t looking at in macro-terms,” Alter tells GlobeSt.com. “Overall, the Denver market isn’t doing all that great right now, but there are some submarkets that are doing quite well. And I don’t think there’s a better neighborhood than Cherry Creek for a hotel. It’s never had a hotel before. So we are creating the market. And Denver doesn’t have a Ritz Carlton or a Four Seasons, so this is really setting a new standard for a hotel in Denver.”

Charles Biederman, who lives in Denver and is co-founder of Sunstone, said: “I want to make money as much as the next guy, but this truly is a labor of love. I’ve never been so excited about a hotel.” He says that the hotel finishes will be comparable to those found in a custom home.

“The JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek will be a new jewel in Denver’s crown for tourism and meetings,” says Eugene Dilbeck, president of the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “With a luxury hotel like the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek, we will be able to attract new kinds of meetings, both from in-state and out-of-state, as well as tourists.”

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