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DENVER-The once grand, but now vacant, Regency Hotel in north Denverrecently was purchased by local investor V. Robert Salazar. Salazar hopes to turn the former 410-room hotel at 3900 Elati St. into student housing for the Auraria campus in Downtown, which has 36,000 students at the University of Colorado at Denver, Metro State College and Community College of Denver.

The hotel, closed by the city last spring because it wasn’t meeting safety standards and because of numerous complaints for things such as under-age drinking and fights, is about two miles from the campus. “As we all know, there is a substantial need for student housing in the Denver Downtown area to accommodate students attending Auraria campus,” says Salazar, who heads Regency Realty Investors LLC, a company he created to own the property. “We believe student housing at the Regency will offer affordable student housing with amenities that other projects will not be able to offer.”

He says all of the rooms will be furnished, offering at least 600 beds. There will be four-bed, three-bath and suite style rooms with living room areas. All rooms will have high-speed Internet access; all utilities, except for long-distance telephone service, will be included in the rent; all rooms will have basic cable TV services; and there will be private study rooms.

The 13.6-acre site also will include a full-service kitchen, a large dining room/cafeteria area, a coffee shop and juice bar, convenience store, computer lab and business center and a grand ballroom. Amenities will include a fitness center, two full basketball and volleyball courts, swimming pool, a non-alcoholic sports center, a game lounge with billiards, and a 214-seat theater room.

Salazar is not seeking a city subsidy. However, he wants the city to expedite construction permits. He also wants to see a bike path created from the Regency to the Platte River and more landscaping. He also wants continued support from the city to build a light rail station near West 38th Avenue and Fox Street, which is planned under the recently approved $4.7-billion FasTracks plan.

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